Passing of a Legend: Former D-Y, College Basketball Coach Frank Forker Succumbs to Heart Failure

NORWALK, CT  – Former Dennis-Yarmouth, Cape Cod Community College and Manhattanville College basketball coach Francis X. “Frank” Forker passed away unexpectedly this past weekend at the age of 83, apparently of an aortic aneurysm, according to his family.

Former Dennis-Yarmouth and Cape Cod Community College basketball coach Frank Forker (right), seen here in 2011 with his eldest son Mike (left), passed away unexpectedly Saturday night.

Former Dennis-Yarmouth and Cape Cod Community College basketball coach Frank Forker (right), seen here in 2011 with his son Mike (left), passed away unexpectedly Saturday night.

The Dennis-Yarmouth boys’ varsity basketball coach in the mid-1980s, Forker went on to coach three seasons of men’s varsity basketball at Cape Cod Community College and at the time of his resignation in 1988 he was the last to coach a winning team there before budget cuts ended athletics at the school.

Forker was the women’s basketball head coach at Division III Manhattanville College from 1975-1978 and men’s head baseball coach for the Valiants from 1978-1980. He then went on to become head coach of boys’ varsity basketball at Central Catholic High School in Norwalk, CT before taking the Dennis-Yarmouth job.

A former executive vice president and international comptroller for AMF, Inc. and a tremendous lifelong athlete, Forker was an avid tennis player up until the time of his death and still competed in senior basketball as well. Following his coaching at Dennis-Yarmouth, he went on to become the varsity women’s basketball and tennis coach at Cardinal Gibbons High School in Raleigh, NC. While in Raleigh, he was the head coach of the two-time North Carolina State AAU women’s basketball champions, finishing 5th nationally in 1993.

Forker was well-known as a young man in New York City as a top catcher for Andrew Jackson High School and received an athletic scholarship to play for St. John’s University after being named All-New York City his senior year behind the plate. He was also named to the All-Queens team as a catcher in his first varsity season.

He had been an all-star backstop in the highly popular Queens-Nassau Baseball League as a teenager and had grown up in Queens. Eventually, he became renowned in Bristol, Pennsylvania as a fast-pitch softball pitcher in the famous Bensalem-Penndel Softball League in the 1960s before moving his family to Connecticut .

Forker was heralded in New York City newspapers as a Queens-Nassau all-star catcher the same day Whitey Ford tossed his first-career complete game for the New York Yankees against the Washington Senators.

Forker’s son Keith is a longtime Cape Cod middle and high school soccer, basketball, lacrosse and baseball referee and umpire who works at Dennis-Yarmouth Regional High School. Keith and his older brother Mike played soccer, basketball and baseball at Manhattanville College.

In 2011, the now late Forker took a silver medal in the Florida Senior Games along with his son Mike in doubles-tennis action at the age of 78. He also ran in the Boston Marathon several times in the 1960s. Senior Games. In 2014, he and his childhood friend, Ernie Uthgenannt, were crowned the Connecticut State Senior Doubles Champions for their age group.

After receiving four offers to play professional baseball, including one from the Brooklyn Dodgers, Forker accepted a full athletic scholarship to St. John’s University to play baseball. While at St. John’s, he enlisted in the United States Navy and was a veteran of the Korean War. His father, Howard Forker, was a veteran of the United States Army in World War I.

Forker and his former wife Joan had five sons, the late Frank, Jr. (Brud), Mike, Keith, Jim and Patrick, two daughters, Jayne and Katie, and many grandchildren. He also leaves behind his wife of 28 years, Leticia Forker and his step-children Nicole and Peter, as well as his siblings Pat, Linda, Howie, Dorothy, and Ann.

Funeral and burial arrangements were not yet available.

— Story by Sean Walsh, sports editor for www.capecod.com. His email is seanwalsh@ccb-media.com. Follow him on Twitter @coachwalshccbm. Special thanks to Nicole O’Brien for adding additional information to this story.

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Comments

  1. Frank Forker – hard worker – committed coach for many – great friend to me.
    Prayers to the family and on behalf of many- Hey Coach, Thanks.

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