A friend of a friend-Gary Spitler-Frank Mercogliano-July 25

One thing I have learned is that good friends have other good friends. This is a series of stories about “friends of my friends”. The post below is the story for July 25, 2015.

My goal in 2015 is to learn or get re-acquainted with 365 people and doing a daily post on the “the friend of a friend” is helping me get closer to my goal.

What does it take to make a difference in someone life? Pretty interesting thing to ponder and there are probably lots of ways to answer that question. I know one person that has had quite a spectacular career in his chosen field of media relations for college athletics. That friend’s name is Frank Mercogliano.

Frank Mercogliano is the Assistant Athletic Director of Communications at the University of Mexico, where he will oversee the entire communications office for the Lobos. He went to Albuquerque, NM after a 12-year stint at Idaho State University where he was the Assistant Athletic Director for Media Relations. At Idaho State he handled all aspects of media relations for football, men’s basketball, and softball, as well as academic honors.

Frank is married and has three daughters. Family is important to him.


Frank had spent the previous four years as the Director of Sports Information at Augusta State University, where he helped publicize the Jaguars in eight NCAA national tournament appearances.

Prior to going to Augusta State (now Georgia Regents University he served as the first full-time SID at Belmont Abbey College, where he also held the dual title of Carolinas Conference Media Relations Director. While there he also coached South Point High School’s soccer team to a two-year record of 30-7-3. In 1993 he was named “Region X Coach of the Year”, and was a runner-up for North Carolina Coach of the Year honors.

Frank has some interesting things happen to him professionally. During his stay in Augusta, Mercogliano served as the official scorer and musical operations director for the Augusta GreenJackets, the Class A affiliate of the Pittsburgh Pirates. Twice, Mercogliano was pressed into emergency service as an umpire for the South Atlantic League when the regular umpires became too ill to work.

Frank has also won a Dharma VW van from a video contest while he was  sports information director at Idaho State University.


Mercogliano is a 1992 graduate of the University of North Carolina at Pembroke, where he earned a degree in communications with an emphasis in public relations. I got to know him during that time span while I served as head basketball coach at UNC Pembroke.

Frank got to where he is at today thru hard work, commitment, and a mentor and friend named Gary Spitler. Today Frank is a mentor to others.




The Friend of the Friend – GARY SPITLER



The Mentor

Gary Franklin Spitler was just 39 years old when he had a massive heart attack and died on December 1, 1995. He was the sports information director at then Pembroke State University now called UNC Pembroke. He came to Pembroke in 1978 and was a pro’s pro when it came to media relations.

Gary shared his gift for media relations with the students at Pembroke including a soccer goalie named Frank Mercogliano. Gary did so much at Pembroke but his greatest gift was teaching studerts how to be a caring professional.

I regret he didn’t get to ride in Dharma’s van and critique Frank’s umpiring skills. Mostly I regret he doesn’t get to beem with pride on what his protege Frank has become.


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