St. Louis Amateur Hockey Hall of Fame

 

 

 

 

 

Bio

Dr. Frank "Frankie" "Doc" Runco was born January 29th, 1959 to Dr. Milton (HOF '10) and Rose Marie Runco in St. Louis, Missouri.  He was the youngest of three children.  He started playing hockey for the Webster Hockey program as a goalie but soon moved to the forward position, playing through high school at Vianney.  He played for his father "Doc" with the Junior B Brentwood Blazers from 1975-1979, finishing his playing days with a year at Mizzou in 1980.  Now living back in St. Louis, he was urged by family friend Dave Staub to start coaching for the Affton Squirt AA during the 1980-81 season.  In June of 1981, he married his wife, Denise, and the wedding was attended by many of his players from the previous season.  In the fall of that same year, Frank started dental school at Washington University in St. Louis, MO.  Despite spending many hours at the library and the dental clinic, Frank never lost his passion for the game.  He also welcomed his two sons, Thomas Milton and Daniel Vincent, in 1984 and 1985.
 
After graduating from dental school in May of 1985, he coached Team St. Louis for the 1985-86 season.  He then joined friend Harry Kern to coach the Mite AA team at Affton.  From there he assisted family friend Lou Struckmann (HOF '09)  to coach Lafayette High School, where they made it to the state semi-finals.  He then became head coach of the Mite AA Travel team at Affton in 1988.  At the request of Jim Jost Sr. (HOF '08)  he joined the St. Louis Jr. Blues staff, helping out friend and head coach Matt Buha (HOF '15).  He followed his players from the mite team, coaching them at the squirt level from 1989-1991.  In 1990, he welcomed his third child, Nicole Marie. 
 
The 1991 season saw him assisting head coach Craig Heggs with the St. Louis Jr. Blues.  He would remain with Craig until Jim Giacin took over in 1996.  He then assisted Jim, one of his players from his first squirt team, from 1996-1999.  In 1999 Jack Behan (HOF '12) took over as head coach of the Jr. Blues and Frank remained on the staff to assist him.  The two became fast friends and Frank affectionately took on the role as "Jack Behan's Sidekick".  Frank often found himself playing referee between Jack and then GM Frank Steckler.  The brotherly love of  the staff led to great success.  During the 2002-2003 season, the team was the runner up for the National Championship at the Jr. B level.  They returned the following season to win St. Louis's first National Championship.  They would then repeat this feat, winning four National Titles in a row in 2004, 2005, 2006, and 2007.  The 2007-2008 season found the Jr. Blues moving up to Jr. A tier III division.  It was during this time that Frank was introduced to current player and future son-in-law, Ryan Devine, who played on the team from 2007-2009.  This relationship was almost derailed by Coach Behan who, upon finding out that Ryan was dating Frank's daughter Nicole, caused Ryan to have his first asthma attack.  The Jr. Blues continued their success at the Jr. A level, and eventually won a fifth National Title in 2010.
 
Frank retired from coaching in 2010, making many great friends and memories along the way.  Atop that list was his first hole in one at the Jr. Blues Golf Tournament on June 25, 2006 in front of his former and current players.  All of whom were quick to remind him that it was then his turn to buy the drinks.  Over the years, he has seen many former players continue on to all different levels of the game.  NHL, International, or College, he cheered them on every step of the way.  Frank has never stopped loving the game and has left the door open to come out of retirement, in case he ever has any grand kids.