Bruce Mastracchio with some of his former players, at the Providence Gridiron Hall of Fame Induction Banquet. Photo credits: Providence Gridiron Club
Bruce Mastracchio loves sports, especially football. After a long career as first a player for East Greenwich and then as a coach – the Providence Gridiron Club gave a little love back, inducting Mastracchio into its Hall of Fame.
The other inductees, who were honored at a banquet Wednesday at the Quonset “O” Club, were Jim Anderson, Steve Fraser, John MacArthur, Dante Scarnecchia, and Tony Torregrossa.
“It was a magical night for me and I loved every minute of it,” Mastracchio said.
Bruce Mastracchio with Dick Fossa, Providence Gridiron president.
Mastracchio grew up in East Greenwich, a place he calls “the smallest town, in the smallest state, in the greatest country in the world.” In addition to football, he loves to write and has written many a tale about his hometown (some of which can be found here on EG News).
At EGHS, Mastracchio was All League in football twice, basketball twice and a Southern Division All-Star in baseball. He was the high school’s nominee for the Providence Journal Honor Roll Boy Award in 1960.
He was a member of the URI football team and the University of Tampa club track team. He also played for the Sigma Nu fraternity in track, basketball, softball and swimming.
Patriotic to the core, Bruce served in the United States Marine Corps with the ranks of both Lance Corporal and Second Lieutenant. He did 2 years active duty and four years Reserve and also put in two years of Army ROTC in college.
The Providence Gridiron 2014 Hall of Famers; Mastracchio is far left.
He also played amateur sports and was a 13 time All-Star in softball in the local league.
Mastracchio has coached high school sports for over 40 years, leading teams in football, basketball, baseball, track, wrestling and USMC Physical Fitness Competition squads at seven schools in five states. He had unbeaten teams in football, basketball track and PFT Competition. He guided Cranston West to an unbeaten season, its only ten-win season and first Super Bowl appearance at the time, and took Auburn HS in Massachusetts to two Central Massachusetts Class titles, two Class A Relay titles and three unbeaten seasons. His Auburn teams did not lose a league meet in seven years. His PFT teams won local, regional and area competitions and placed fourth nationally. His teams produced many All League, All State and Prep School All-America selections in California, Massachusetts, Rhode Island and Nevada.
Twice he received Franklin Awards from “Scholastic Coach” magazine. In 1992, he was named to the East Greenwich Athletic Hall of Fame. In 1997 he was named a RIIL “Coach of the Year” and in 2001 he was named to the RI Football Coaches Hall of Fame. Two times he was named Grand Marshall of the East Greenwich Memorial Day parade and was an Honorable Mention for the EG Rotary Club’s Man of the Year Award.
Very active in his community, Bruce has served as chairman of the EG Veteran Firemen’s Scholarship Committee; chairman of the East Greenwich Athletic Hall of Fame; chairman of the Parade Committee for both Memorial Day and Veteran’s Day; on the Concerned Citizens Watchdog Group and the town’s Charter Commission. He established and leads Strong Hearts, a group which helped those in need and he has served as the nominating chairman for The EGHS Wall of Honor Committee for many years.
Hall of Famers with their spouses; Bruce and Elaine Mastracchio are in the back row, second and third from the left.
Bruce served as a liaison between the Providence Journal and the RIHSFCA to get more publicity and attention to high school athletics and also between the RIHSFCA and the R.I. Officials Association. He was also on the committee to get ball at CCRI. Coach Mastracchio originated the idea, and was the co-chairman for the R.I. College Football Fair. He also brought that idea to Las Vegas, Nevada. He originated the football Challenge Cup, brought the idea of a power system ranking for football to Rhode Island, and worked in the background on many of the projects for the RIHSFCA, including the Rhode Island–Connecticut All Star game.
In 1975 Mastracchio won the WBZ-TV Good Sports Competition for Central Massachusetts. He took over-35 title and his score was the tops for all age groups. The competition, a decathlon, consisted of football, basketball, baseball, hockey and track skills competitions plus an obstacle course.
Mastracchio was co-founder (along with George Battey), publicist, co-captain, assistant coach and two-way player for the rebirth of the East Greenwich Townies Semi-Pro football team in the early 1960s, which went 19-1 over his two years and won both Rhode Island and Southeast Massachusetts championships.
A volunteer fireman in East Greenwich, Bruce also held membership in the EG Veteran Firemen’s Association; R.I. Football Coaches Association; Mass. Track Coaches Association; National Wing-T CA; and the Cauliflower Alley Club. He held a Gold Card for over 40 years devotion to high school coaching.
Mastracchio created the East Greenwich Pendulum’s Top Ten in Rhode Island sports; the Pendulum Picks Awards and EGMAGnificents Awards given to EGHS athletes. Also, the Ucci Awards. He came up with the nickname “The Avs,” for the EGHS Avenger teams.
Aside from his family, he was the proudest of the fact that he helped hundreds of kids advance in their lives, making extra effort to help them get into colleges, JC’s, and prep schools. He raised thousands of dollars at the schools he taught helping to procure uniforms, weights, fields, etc. when budget constraints and taxpayers woes kept them from getting things through ordinary means. At one school he raised close to $500,000 over a 20-year period. He also ran two Bigger, Faster, Strong Clinics for athletes in Rhode Island and clinics on Sports Medicine, Taping and Training Procedures and Athletic Training and Injuries. He had two articles on athletics published in a national sports magazines.
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About time, Bruce. Well-deserved!
Many congratulations Bruce! I won’t take any credit from Bruce’s many successes but as his
teacher, I remember a little kid from the lower reaches of East Greenwich, gutsy, smart as
a whip with high standards and a lot of confidence. He has been a lifelong friend and in
close contact ever since he was my pupil and paper boy in 1953.
My name is Bob Johnson.I live in Easton PA>.Unfortunately I lost my precious and beloved son,Derek Brian Johnson in THE STATION NIGHTCLUB FIRE on 2/20/03.Bruce and his lovely wife Elaine reached out to me during the 10th anniversary of thistragic event,and invited me to stay with them on my subseqent trips to R.I. they allowed me the comforts of their home and the warmth of their kindness.I had prviously been staying at the Radisson Hotel in Warwick,in my many trips over the years. it was Bruce’s feeling, that I didn’t have to spend so much for lodging etc.,and this wonderful and overly kind person,along with his adoring wife made me feel, like I wasn’t alone in my grief.I am an ardent fan of all sports, and Bruce took me to various events,football,wrestling,track,etc. and everywhere we went he was well known. Bruce is a very exceptional man in many respects. He writes very touching stories,especially of his younger years.He is a talented coach,who not only extracts his players physical capabilities, but he is as interested in their scholarly well-being and future as a person academically.Rhode Island is very fortnate to have the MASTRACCHIO family as citizens.I am very proud to be known as a friend of Bruce and Elaine MastracchioThank you for the opportunity to prraise their graciousness and kindness and caring!!!!!!!!!! BOB JOHNSON (DEREKS’ DAD)
Bob, thanks so much for your comment.
I have just been blown away by it all.
Thank you Elizabeth for the nice article and pictures.
Thanks to all who left a comment, and to Bob Izzi and the
members of the Gridiron Club, who worked so hard to make that
night a huge success.
I guess it shows that the gutsy kid from the BTH, who wouldn’t compromise,
finally made it.
Thanks to all for everything.
Bruce R. Mastracchio Sr.