Stellar athletes, Green Bay fans Murphy, Popovich to tie the knot

Published Oct 7, 2018 at 9:00am

I will be home this weekend for my niece Megan Murphy’s wedding. She is marrying Ryan Popovich and everyone is so excited to welcome him into our family. 

Both Megan and Ryan are avid Green Bay Packers fans. Most Romans are Bills, Giants or Jets fans so I find this very interesting. There are not many Packers fans located in Rome so how did these two find each other?

Megan played varsity soccer and softball for Rome Catholic back in 2008. I went to most of her games and she was a good athlete. She went to college at Providence where she majored in management. Meg is now working in the family business at Nunn’s Home Medical.

Ryan played varsity soccer for Rome Free Academy back in 2008. I got to know him in the eighth grade when he played modified basketball for my son Brendan Ryan. 

Ryan is an excellent golfer and plays in our Tuesday night league at Teugega Country Club. Last year on the par 4 hole No. 16 he hit a 300-yard drive down the hill and the ball went wizzing past my ear missing me by inches. I punished him by placing it on a tee.

Ryan’s mom (Debbie) has worked at the NYSSD with my brother Dennis who has been the varsity basketball coach for many years.

Rome sports nickname: Ryan Popovich “Pops.”

Geek of the week: Eli Manning. He is my all-time favorite Giant but I wish he would “Man up” and be strong in the pocket.

Pick of the week: Texas 35, Oklahoma 24. Coach Herbie Hand has his Longhorns playing some great football. My record is 4-0 vs the spread this year.

Do you remember Bob Evangelist?

He was a very good basketball player for RFA back in 1965. He played for coach Lew Bennett and he was an excellent point guard. I use to guard him back in the Rome Civic League and he was quick. He was left-handed and blew by me off the dribble like I was standing still. He went to college at Le Moyne and became a principal in the Rome City School District at John E. Joy Elementary School. He and his wife Lynn are retired and now live in Surprise, Ariz.

Boxing seems like a dying sport to me. Even HBO has decided not to televise events anymore. Rome N.Y. was a big boxing town back in the day. Did you know that back in the early 50s, John Facciolo was the talk of the town by winning the Central New York Golden Gloves competition at Madison Square Garden? That was a great sports memory in our city. John passed away in February of this year at 91 years old.

Rome sports nickname: John Facciolo “Hogan.”

Gary Millington passed away this week at the age of 71. I used to have coffee with him in the morning at Kekis Citgo for many years on my way to work. He played football for RFA back in 1965 and was one of Rome’s great guys. My condolences to his family especially the grandchildren who he loved and talked about so much. May he rest in peace.

Did you know my commanding officer in Vietnam back in 1968 was Colonel George S. Patton? He was the son of the famous World War ll hero. He once said, “It is a proud privilege to be a soldier.” It has been 50 years since I have served and he was so right.