In October, Tufts welcomed back star wide receiver and double Jumbo Frank Roche as the new athletics civic engagement coordinator. The Jonathan M. Tisch College of Civic Life funded the position in hopes of facilitating more opportunities for athletes and coaches to engage in civic life on campus and in the community. Roche said he is excited about the role and working with some of the preexisting engagement from teams and athletes.
“I’m definitely excited about the position and the ability to kind of be a connection between athletic teams here at Tufts and community organizations and opportunities beyond campus,” Roche said. “A lot of stuff is already going on with teams, they’re already involved a lot in the community. So it’s just a matter of elevating that and getting the word out there about what our student athletes are doing.”
Senior Associate Director of Athletics Alexis Mastronardi echoed Roche’s sentiments regarding the civically active athletic community.
“We have so many teams and individual student-athletes doing tremendous things in the community already,” Mastronardi wrote in an email to the Daily. “Our hope for Frank in this role is that he can organize, coordinate and channel our efforts as an Athletics Department, so that we are best meeting the needs of the surrounding community, while also working to match opportunities with our student-athletes’ interests and passions surrounding civic engagement and service.”
As a Jumbo, Roche was a starting wide receiver for the football team and graduated in 2019 with a bachelor’s degree in political science, minoring in entrepreneurial leadership. During his last year at Tufts, he earned his master’s degree in middle and high school education. His record of 12 receiving touchdowns in a single season is tied for second-most of all time and his 989 receiving yards in 2019 is the second highest in school history. Roche went on to teach at nearby high schools post-graduation and is currently coaching football at Everett High School in addition to his position at Tufts. Roche commented on the significance of working at his alma mater.
“My experience as a student is the main reason why I’m back here working,” Roche said. “I think it’s a great fit and great opportunity to be back in a place that’s given me so much. And hopefully I can contribute to this community.”
More specifically, upon starting his role, Roche is excited about an upcoming project to implement a student civic engagement presence on each team.
“I’m excited about our civic life ambassador program that we’re hoping to get off the ground and running,” Roche said. “One to two people from each team will become civic life ambassadors, and they’re … someone who we can rely on as a point of contact and someone who is really committed to civic engagement and community service. How I see them is as a leader who their teammates can look to, and who I can look to in terms of communication for events and service opportunities.”