Franco Harris, Mt. Holly Pro Day Honoree


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Franco Harris was one of the first athletes honored by Mt. Holly Pro Day

Born on March 7, 1950 in New Jersey, Franco attended Rancocas Valley High School (RVRHS) in Mt. Holly where he was a star running back for Coach Bill Gordon.  

Penn StateHis talent earned him an athletic scholarship to Penn State where he played for legendary Coach Joe Paterno.

As a Nittany Lion, Harris served primarily as a blocker for the All-American running back Lydell Mitchell. Even so, Harris amassed 2,002 yards rushing with 24 touchdowns and averaged over 5 yards per carry. He also caught 28 passes for 352 yards and another touchdown. In 1970 he lead the team in scoring.

Harris was a 1st round draft pick (13th overall) by the Pittsburgh Steelers in 1972, uniform #32.  His selection by the team was considered controversial at the time, as many thought the team would select his PSU teammate Lydell Mitchell.

Pittsburgh SteelersFranco provided big-back power to the Steelers offense.  He had his own cheering section, Franco's Italian Army, and is immortalized in NFL film with his Immaculate Reception.

The Heinz History Center, home of the Western Pennsylvania Sports Museum, installed a life-size statue of Harris recreating this incredible catch in the grand concourse of Pittsburgh International Airport.

Franco's NFL awards and achievements include...

  • All-pro, 1977 
  • All-AFC three times
  • In eight Pro Bowls
  • MVP in Super Bowl IX, 158 yards rushing
  • Rushed 1,000 yards nine seasons, 
    100 yards, 47 games

Franco Harris, #32 of the Pittsburgh SteelersHis career record includes...

  • 12,120 yards 
  • 91 TDs rushing
  • 2,287 yards
  • 9 TDs receiving
  • 14,622 combined net yards
  • 1,556 yards rushing in 19 post-season games

Franco is a highly successful business man as owner of Super Bakery, Inc. and Parks Sausage Company.

In John Grisham's 2008 novel Playing For Pizza, the fullback of the Parma Panthers is nicknamed Franco as a tribute to Grisham's hero, Franco Harris, who he refers to as the "greatest Italian football player."

Harris has served as part of the advisory board at Penn State's Center for Food Innovation and in the fall of 2009 was named a Conti Professor by Penn State's School of Hospitality Management. In 2011, Harris was inducted into the New Jersey Hall of Fame and became co-owner of the Pittsburgh Passion—a women's American Football Team.

Throughout the years Franco has always been highly active supporting Mt. Holly youth programs and Mt. Holly Pro Day. It is with our deepest gratitude and respect that he was selected as the first Mt. Holly Pro Day honoree.

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2015, Bill Gordon Mt. Holly Pro Day
c/o Carmen A. Cella
9 Hopewell Avenue
Lumberton, NJ  08048