For two decades Richie Farino was part of the Waterbury Roller Hockey League and Warriors Football League. He coached and served in administrative roles.
Sadly, the Bronx native who dedicated much of his life to youth sports passed away Dec. 19 at age 71 from COVID-19.
Farino, who resided in Pelham Bay, had relocated to Florida after retiring from NY Telephone several years ago. He is survived by his wife Jenny and sons Ritchie and Eric. His third son Jason is deceased.
Jerry Demers, founder of the Warriors Football League, spoke fondly about his friend.
“We were work partners and we got along very well,” he stated. “I couldn’t have done it (football league) without him. He was a great help to the program.
Farino started out as a coach and all three of his children played as well. Eventually, after his boys got older he joined Demers and helped run the league for 20 years.
According to Demers, Farino was a good coach and a disciplinarian who did not let the kids fool around.
The two were not just colleagues, but friends for 40 years – on Sundays the coaches came to Farino’s house to watch football and hang out.
Demers noted that when Farino joined him in the administrative role he helped update the program by using computers.
“I don’t know if I would have been able to do that manually with 600 kids,” Demers said.
George Havranek knew Farino more than 35 years. They were colleagues at NY Telephone and coached roller hockey together.
Farino introduced him to the league and Havranek is glad the two met. Havranek eventually discovered that Farino was a Purple Heart recipient from the Vietnam War, which Farino rarely spoke about.
“The children always came first,” he stressed, adding “the sports were a mode of teaching them lessons.”
Havranek described the departed as a role model and humble.
“It wasn’t about creating NHL players,” he explained. “Richie was about creating quality adults.”
Bobby Morris was friends with Farino for 36 years and coached football and roller hockey with him. He recalled the last time they spoke was the Friday before his death.
He never expected that to be the case. Morris will sorely miss Farino. Morris recalled that they always wished each other happy birthday and even if they went a while without talking their relationship was always good.
Morris told the Bronx Times when he first heard Farino passed it was like a punch in the gut. Now he is trying to remember the good times they had together.
“He wound up being as much of a big brother to me as my own are,” Morris said.