CURWENSVILLE — For more than 35 years, Mickey Morgillo of Curwensville provided Curwensville area youth with an example of the attributes they needed to succeed in the sport of football as well as in life.
Morgillo was recently recognized by the Curwensville Area School District’s Golden Tide Football program for nearly four decades of work to bolster the sport.
He received a plaque noting his years of service to the football program prior to the game including his years with Curwensville youth football from 1989 to 1993, Curwensville Junior High Football from 1994-2003 where he served as head coach from 2000-2003 and Curwensville Varsity Football as a member of its coaching staff from 2004-2019.
During the pre-game ceremony where he was recognized, the following statement was read, “ Leadership is about influencing others. Successful leaders bring people together, delegate responsibility, take ownership of a program, and work with a purpose. Our Curwensville community is honored to have such a leader in Mickey Morgillo.”
After noting details of his long career with the Golden Tide Football program, the presentation noted, “Young athletes need a leader with vision, courage, and a strong-work ethic that gets the job done... He is a difference-maker. His leadership and purpose have not only helped shape and influence Golden Tide Football players of the past, but will continue through present and future players.”
“I am very grateful to have received this recognition but it’s not about me, it has always been about the kids. I am thankful for everything everyone has done for me during the years I was involved in football. It’s a great honor for me,” Morgillo said.
Morgillo was quick to point out that any success achieved during his tenure was a group effort. “I appreciate all who were involved in this,” he said, thanking fellow coaches, football boosters, the players, parents, school board and the district’s administration, saying he didn’t want to mention names because there have been many and he didn’t want to forget anyone. “They are all great people. This has been a great time,” he added.
He spoke about coaching with the late Andy Evanko speaking about his vision for the program and the many hours he invested in his players both on and off the field. He said under his leadership, Golden Tide played 17 championship games –earning several District 9 titles. He also reported being honored to work for a year with the current Golden Tide coach Jim Thompson who he said he was also fortunate enough to have coached.
His mentor was his Uncle Robert Morgillo who coached football and also an athletic director at Curwensville.
Morgillo, played high school football for the Tide, recalled those games from the 1960s and said while things were slightly different then, he believes there is the same take-home for players. Football has instilled lessons in him he utilizes to this day. “Football teaches leadership, dedication and self-discipline,” he said.
His career of service to the Golden Tide began through work to form a program for elementary-school-age children.
In the late 1980s, inspired by his son Jaime and some of Jaime’s friends, Morgillo worked with his friends, the late Al Fegert, LeRoy Fye and Jim Bloom to start the Curwensville Midget Football League.
Morgillo said Fegert brought the idea to the group and they patterned Curwensville’s program using a similar youth football program Fegert knew about from another community.
Building a program requires equipment and financial commitment, Morgillo said work started in earnest to raise funds and find others who wanted to work to see the program succeed. Morgillo’s wife, Arlene, said the program was very popular and soon had its own cheerleading squad and team mothers.
“It was a lot of fun,”Morgillo said.
As his son grew older, Morgillo moved along up the football ladder with him coaching junior high and later was part of the varsity program’s coaching staff. He retired from the program in 2019.
“It has always been about the kids. They are the most important factor in this,” he said, noting many of his players over the years have gone on to be remarkable men who have made significant contributions to the world. “Many of those kids have gone on to do great things,” he added.
Arlene Morgillo said she is not surprised her husband stayed with the program as long as he did. “He is so patient and good with the kids. He was born to coach.”
Morgillo said he is still heading out to games every Friday. He sits in the stands and cheers for the Golden Tide players and counts himself among their biggest fans.