Another Final Four for UConn and Frank Cutko
As basketball fans across the country get swept up in the annual March Madness frenzy, one Springwell Living resident is watching with a unique perspective. Meet Frank Cutko, a former college basketball referee with 35 years of experience officiating some of the biggest games in the country. From Patrick Ewing’s first game at Georgetown to David Robinson’s debut at Navy, Cutko has seen it all.
But Frank's basketball expertise doesn't end there. In 1972, he attended the Olympic training camp in Colorado Springs, where he taught the U.S. team international rules and rubbed shoulders with legendary players and coaches like Tom McMillen and Bobby Knight. He even served as president of the National Basketball Referees Association for several years.
Now retired from his full-time teaching job at CCBC Essex where he served with distinction as associate professor of wellness, Frank is happily cheering on his beloved UConn Huskies in both the men's and women's tournaments. Hailing from Willimantic, Connecticut, he knows folks from both programs and even received a scholarship offer from UConn himself, though he ultimately chose to attend Muhlenberg College. After college, he played professional basketball for the Wilkes-Barre Barons (1954-1956), a Pennsylvania team in the Eastern Professional Basketball League. Frank's enthusiasm for UConn has landed him in a friendly rivalry with his friend and former Baltimore Sun reporter Kevin Cowherd, a fan of Gonzaga. They recently met for lunch and perhaps had a gentleman's bet going before the Huskies vs. Bulldogs matchup in the Elite Eight game! With the win, the Huskies have advanced to six NCAA Final Fours (tied for 10th all time) and appeared in the NCAA tournament 33 times.
Frank's passion for sports extends beyond basketball. While at CCBC Essex from 1969 to 2002 he coached numerous baseball and softball student athletes, with 23 of his baseball players and eight of his softball players earning NCAA Division I scholarships. Seven of his baseball student-athletes even went on to play professionally!
Now a member of the CCBC Athletics Hall of Fame, Frank won more than 350 games combined in baseball and softball, with a better than .750 two-sport winning percentage. While UConn heads for another Final Four, Frank remains humble and grateful for his many blessings off the court and baseball diamond. He and his wife Barbara were among the first residents to move into The Homestead at Springwell Living in 2018, and have shared many great experiences, including traveling extensively to London to watch their daughter Valerie perform on stage. Their son Andy is the Director of the Maine Bureau of Parks and Lands. With a successful career, love for sports, and dedication to coaching, mentoring and teaching, Frank Cutko is a respected figure in his community and an inspiration to all of us to pursue our passions and find joy in every stage of life.
Pexels image by Markus Spiske
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