OBITUARY – John Thomas “Coach” Fagula
NASHUA- John Thomas “Coach” Fagula, 73, passed away peacefully on Friday, July 31, 2020, at St. Joseph Hospital in Nashua.
John was born on March 31, 1947 in Wilkes Barre, Pennsylvania and was predeceased by his parents John Edward and Dora Marie (Corriveau) Fagula. He graduated from Laconia High School as an all-star athlete and Hiram Scott College in Scottsbluff, Nebraska where he played baseball.
John began his history teaching career in 1970 until he retired from Elm Street Junior High in Nashua, in 2004. Along with his teaching career he was best known as “Coach”. John had a legendary coaching career ranging from boys high school basketball and football as well as girls high school volleyball and what he was most noted for, girl’s high school basketball. John spent the first 20 years of his basketball coaching career at Nashua High School, running one of the nation’s best schoolgirl programs ever. His Purple Panthers went 432-72, including a 108-game winning streak (120 straight against New Hampshire teams) and won 11 Class L titles (1982, ’85, ’86. ’87, ’88, ’89, ’92, ’93, ’95, ’96, ’99). He led five nationally ranked teams – highlighted by the USA Today #1 national title in 1987 (1986 – 4th ranked, 1988 – 5th ranked). In 1999, the 23-0 Purple Panthers were ranked #1 in New England. After taking four seasons off, John spent the rest of his career in Londonderry. At Londonderry, his record was 192-67 in 11 seasons. His final game resulted in his 12th title and 624 career wins. Coach Fagula has more wins at the Class L level than any other coach in New Hampshire basketball history.
Coach was very involved with the Amateur Athletic Union and as a National Director for the AAU program he often spoke to college coaches on a player’s behalf and help match the player with the right college program resulting in many scholarships for deserving scholar/athletes. He was honored and inducted into the Nashua Athletics Hall of Fame in 1996 and in October, 2019, to the Hall of Fame by the New Hampshire Coaches Organization. He was a beloved teacher, coach apd mentor to his students, players and colleagues.
When he wasn’t on the playing field or basketball court, John did sports radio commentary for the Nashua High football games. He was an avid golfer and enjoyed both golfing and working at Skymeadow Country Club and Souhegan Woods Golf Club during his retirement. John loved routing for Boston College Basketball, New England Patriots, and the Boston Red Sox. When he wasn’t watching sports, he loved the ION TV crime show line-up, playing cards and, of course, Jeopardy. He enjoyed visits with his family especially his daughter and son and loved being by the ocean and lakes fishing and going on hikes.
He is survived by his two children, Nicole Fagula and Scott Fagula both of Hudson, Wisconsin. He is also survived by his granddaughter, Lilly Fagula; his sisters, Linda Brodeur and her husband Marc of The Villages, FL and Karen Wickman and her husband Jeff of Waterville, Maine; his niece Rebecca Wickman of Waterville, Maine; as well as his former wife Cheryl Walker of Sun City, Arizona and also leaves behind many cousins. John was predeceased by his brother Robert W. Fagula and infant daughter during birth, Tracy L. Fagula.
Relatives and friends are invited to John’s memorial visitation on SUNDAY, August 30th at SKYMEADOW COUNTRY CLUB, 6 Mountain Laurels Drive, Nashua, NH from 2 until 5 PM. Interment will take place at the convenience of his family. Donations in John’s memory, in lieu of flowers or otherwise, may be made to the youth enrichment nonprofit, Nashua PAL (Police Athletic League), 52 Ash St., Nashua NH 03060, or online at https://nashuapal.com/donate/. Arrangements entrusted to the care of ROCHETTE FUNERAL HOME AND CREMATION SERVICES, 21 Kinsley Street, Nashua.
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