Former Cranston Mayor and current School Committee Member Michael A. Traficante will be inducted into the Rhode Island Interscholastic League Athletic Hall of Fame next month.
"Mr. Traficante's success and accomplishments continue the tradition of the Rhode Island Interscholastic League honoring exceptional people," said Thomas Mezzanore, executive director of the RIIL.
For years, Traficante has been deeply involved with the lives of not just young athletes, but all of Cranston's youth. He's been a teacher, coach, mentor and community leader. He serves on the board of directors for the Cranston Area Career and Technical Academy. His name graces plaques on countless fields and parks where the city's young athletes play and compete.
"I am sincerely and deeply honored for the privilege of being recognized among Rhode Island’s finest interscholastic community,” Traficante said in a release. “Youth and high school athletics, in my humble opinion, is one of the few institutions that instill in our young people the importance of good character, a competitive attitude, and respect for fair play. Our youth learn life lessons on the athletic field that are just as important as those they learn in the classroom.”
Known by most as "Traf," Traficante's name is known in most Cranston households.
His career started 40-years ago as a math teacher, and football and wrestling coach, eventually becoming the assistant principal at Cranston High School East.
He served on the City Council for six years before being elected Mayor in 1985. He held the post for 14 years and holds the record for the longest tenure of any Cranston mayor.
Traf's other legacy is at Cranston East, where his record as a coach is gilded with championships. As assistant coach of the Thunderbolts football team in 1965, his team won the Class A Large Division title. The wrestling team captured the state and New England titles that same year. In 1968, he became head wrestling coach and his wrestlers won the state title and finished second in New England.
A few years later, Traficante became head football coach. He won division titles in 1972 and 1974 and the state championship in 1975. He also became an assistant wrestling coach at Bishop Hendricken, where he led the Hawks to a state championship.
Traficante will be feted on May 11 at the Crowne Plaza Hotel in Warwick at 7 p.m.