Frank Navarro
Biographical details
Born(1930-02-15)February 15, 1930
White Plains, New York
DiedMay 30, 2021(2021-05-30) (aged 91)
Playing career
Coaching career (HC unless noted)
1955Columbia (OL)
1956Williams (freshmen)
1957–1962Williams (assistant)
Head coaching record
Tournaments2–1 (NCAA D-III playoffs)

Frank F. Navarro (February 15, 1930 – May 30, 2021) was an American football player and coach. He served as the head football coach at Williams College from 1963 to 1967, Columbia University from 1968 to 1973, Wabash College from 1974 to 1977, and Princeton University from 1978 to 1984, compiling a career college football coaching record of 99–99–6. Navarro graduated in 1953 from the University of Maryland, College Park, where he played on the Maryland Terrapins football as a guard under head coach, Jim Tatum. Navarro and the 1951 Maryland Terrapins football team advanced to the 1952 Sugar Bowl, where they beat Tennessee, and were recognized as a national champion by sevration selections.

Coaching career

After serving a two-year stint in the United States Air Force, Navarro headed to Teachers College at Columbia University, where the head football coach Lou Little offered him the job of assistant offensive line coach under John F. Bateman in 1955. Little's offer ended Navarro's pursuit of teaching and put him on a path to a career in coaching.

Navarro joined the Williams College coaching staff in 1957 as an assistant to head coach, Len Watters, where Navarro introduced the “Monster Defense". In 1961 and 1962, the Ephs won 12 games and 8 of those wins came by shutting out the opposition. The "Monster Defense" was designed for the linemen to tie up the blockers and allow the linebackers to make the tackles. The monster defense featured a new technique: slanting defensive linemen. The monster, or the scrape linebacker, was the one who was targeted to make tackles after the linemen tied up the offensive line.[1] Navarro succeeded Watters as head coach in 1963 amassed a record of 28–11–1 in five seasons, including a 7–0–1 mark in 1967, when he was named New England College Coach of the year.[2] While Navarro was at Williams, Norman Rockwell used him as a model for his painting, "The Recruit". 

After the 1967 season, Navarro left Williams to become the head football coach at Columbia. He led the Lions to an impressive 6–3 mark in 1971, with the three losses coming by a combined total of just eight points. 1971 was only the third winning campaign for Columbia since 1952. Navarro was named the New York Writers Association Eastern College Coach of the Year.[3]

Navarro moved on to Wabash College in Crawfordsville, Indiana in 1974. During his four years there, he led the LWabash Little Giants to a combined 26–17 record, including an 18–5 mark over his final two seasons. Wabash had not had a winning season for ten consecutive years until Navarro led them to a 7–3 record in 1976. 1977 was even better as he directed the Little Giants to a 11–2 mark and a runner-up finish in the NCAA Division III Football Championship, were they lost a 39–36 shootout to Widener.

At Princeton, Navarro's most gratifying season came in 1981 when the Tigers finished 5–4–1, including a stunning 35–31 last-second win over defending Ivy League champion, Yale, snapping Princeton's 15=game losing streak to the rival Bulldogs. For his outstanding coaching performance in that game, Navarro was named UPI Coach of the Week.[4] By beating Yale and tying Harvard (17–17), Princeton captured its first Big Three title since 1966. The Tigers's 5–1–1 Ivy mark was their best league record since they won a share of the title in 1969.


Navarro was married to Jill Navarro, they have 8 children and 22 grandchildren.

Navarro's son, Ben Navarro is a billionaire businessman, the founder and CEO of Sherman Financial Group.[5]


Navarro died at the age of 91 on May 30, 2021.[6]

Head coaching record

Year Team Overall Conference Standing Bowl/playoffs
Williams Ephs () (1963–1967)
1963 Williams 2–6
1964 Williams 7–1
1965 Williams 6–2
1966 Williams 6–2
1967 Williams 7–0–1
Williams: 28–11–1
Columbia Lions (Ivy League) (1968–1973)
1968 Columbia 2–7 2–5 6th
1969 Columbia 1–8 1–6 T–7th
1970 Columbia 3–6 1–6 T–7th
1971 Columbia 6–3 5–2 3rd
1972 Columbia 3–5–1 2–4–1 T–6th
1973 Columbia 1–7–1 1–6 7th
Columbia: 16–36–2 12–29–1
Wabash Little Giants (Indiana Collegiate Conference) (1974–1975)
1974 Wabash 5–5 2–4 T–4th
1975 Wabash 3–7 0–6 7th
Wabash Little Giants (NCAA Division III independent) (1976–1977)
1976 Wabash 7–3
1977 Wabash 11–2 L NCAA Division III Championship
Wabash: 26–17 2–8
Princeton Tigers (Ivy League) (1978–1984)
1978 Princeton 2–5–2 1–4–2 7th
1979 Princeton 5–4 5–2 T–2nd
1980 Princeton 6–4 4–3 T–3rd
1981 Princeton 5–4–1 5–1–1 3rd
1982 Princeton 3–7 3–4 T–4th
1983 Princeton 4–6 2–5 6th
1984 Princeton 4–5 3–4 5th
Princeton: 29–37–3 23–23–3
Total: 99–99–6


  1. ^ "Frank Navarro Introduced the "Monster Defense" at Williams". Williams Athletic Department. October 24, 2011. Retrieved September 20, 2019.
  2. ^ "Frank Navarro's Arrival". Princeton Alumni Weekly: 22. January 16, 1978. Retrieved July 25, 2020 – via Google Books.
  3. ^ White Jr., Gordon S. (December 16, 1971). "Navarro of Columbia Voted Coach of Year". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved September 20, 2019.
  4. ^ White, Dan (December 1, 1981). "Princeton 35, Yale 31". Princeton Alumni Weekly: 20. Retrieved July 25, 2020 – via Google Books.
  5. ^ "Potential Panthers owner Navarro is a low-profile billionaire". April 12, 2018. Retrieved February 23, 2019.
  6. ^ "Former Ivy League football coach Frank Navarro dies at 91". WTMA. June 2, 2021. Retrieved June 2, 2021.