UMBERTIDE (Perugia) – Don’t call it the sports hall in via Morandi anymore: from now on it is the Marco Staccini sports hall. As well as the outdoor basketball court of the “Garibaldi”, which from today will be the playground “Angelo Zurli”. Umbertide dedicates the symbolic places of his basketball to those who have given their all to the growth of basketball in the city: Professor Angelo Zurli (who imported it from distant India after the Second World War) and Marco “Staccio” Staccini, flag of Fratta as a player and historic coach of the yellow and blue team.
The exciting naming ceremonies took place on the morning of Saturday 1st April and come after a period of strong commitment by the Basket Club Fratta and the Municipality of Umbertide. Many umbertidesi, old glories of basketball, students of professor Zurli, teammates of Marco Staccini, the boys he has seen grow up in basketball, up to the ancient rivals of Perugia (who over time have become great friends) did not want to send to this event historic for the city’s basketball movement and for Umbertide.
The ceremonies saw the presence of the mayor Luca Carizia, the president of Fratta Lucio Rondini, the historic secretary of the Frattegiano basketball association, Professor Giovanni Bico, who ideally embraced the son of Marco Staccini, Michele (also he coach like his father, for three seasons at the helm of the Umbertide Women’s Basketball in A2), his wife Daniela, his brother Luigi and the nephew of professor Zurli, the architect and former glory of Fratta Diego Zurli. All accompanied by the notes of the “Triumphal march” of “L’Aida” by Giuseppe Verdi (historic hymn of Fratta’s golden times) resounded by the trumpet of maestro Galliano Cerrini and by the applause of those present.
The first to be discovered was the plaque dedicated to Professor Zurli at the playground of the “Garibaldi” schools. Professor Angelo Zurli met basketball in the English prison camp of Kangra Valley on the slopes of the Himalayas, where he remained from 1941 to 1946. From 1948 to 1973, as a physical education teacher, he taught all the pupils of the “Pascoli” middle school the fundamentals of the sport he has loved all his life. In 1951, his students founded the “Aquilotti” association to play basketball. In 1964 those same students, now scattered in the various high schools of Perugia, encouraged by Zurli, founded the Basket Club Fratta.
For the occasion, the municipality of Umbertide asphalted the old clay field of the “Garibaldi” schools, providing it with lighting and a small grandstand. Thus the Garibaldi playground was born and the professor became the coach of a group of boys with whom he won all the regional youth championships. That team managed to win the Promotion championship and played the round of 32 of the Italian Cup on the “campetto” in via XX Settembre, lost with Sapori Siena (which at the time played in A2), but winning the national championship of Serie D In 1971 the gymnasium in via Montessori was inaugurated where Professor Zurli’s boys touched Serie B for three consecutive years. The professor had sown a lot and well. His work for the growth of many boys and for the promotion of the basketball movement still bear fruit today.
At the end of the ceremony, the professor’s nephew, Diego Zurli, explained how the drawing that accompanies the celebratory plaque, made up of the caricature of the founder of basketball in Umbertide accompanied by the “half wheel” diagram so dear to him as to become his trademark.
The event then moved outside the sports hall in via Morandi where the naming ceremony of the city’s basketball temple after Marco Staccini took place.
For the Umbertide community, Staccini represented the city’s basketball for about 40 years with the Basket Club Fratta uniform, playing 2040 games as a player and coach. He started very early as a player in the youth sector of BC Fratta and within a short time he became part of the first team, contributing decisively to winning the promotion championship and subsequently to winning the D series until then reaching the C series. with which he came close to promotion to Serie B for three consecutive years.
The “Staccio” was for a long time captain of BC Fratta embodying those great values of team sport such as tenacity, spirit of self-sacrifice, spirit of belonging to that shirt that represented Umbertide in every gym or arena where he played. After his experience as a player he devoted himself completely to that of coach of the first team and then as educator of many young people from Umberti who recognized in him the great passion for this sport. He managed to win 25 regional titles and a title of Juniores Champion of Italy in 1995. In the 80s he too was the architect of the promotion of Foligno in Serie B. He also had a parenthesis “in pink”, at the helm of the Umbertide Women’s Basketball. From 2005 to 2007, he coached the women’s team in the years of the A2 series, obtaining a historic salvation in the first season, and subsequently in the second season a play-off final lost only in game 3 against Italmoka Pozzuoli.
Staccini also gave his important contribution to our community as a physical education teacher, translating those sound principles set out above into the daily life of an educator which led him, even in retirement, to embrace a training project directly in Africa with the boys of Cameroon. Marco Staccini left us on February 28, 2022 at the age of 71, leaving a void that cannot be filled in family members, friends and all football fans.
“As an administration – said the mayor Luca Carizia during the ceremonies – we strongly wanted to support Fratta’s requests because we considered them necessary. I believe that having made these dedications to Professor Zurli and Marco Staccini, has a great significance seeing the many people who are present». The mayor therefore made a moving memory of Professor Zurli and Marco Staccini, to whom he was bound by a great friendship. Carizia then thanked the president of the province of Perugia, Stefania Proietti, for having accepted the request for naming the Staccini sports hall, given that the provincial body is the owner of the structure.
«I want to sincerely thank all those who are present here this morning – said Staccini’s son, Michele – the Fratta Basket Club and the municipal administration for their commitment. I am strongly excited. Umbertide, Fratta and basketball live an indissoluble bond that has always been demonstrated over the years. Having had teachers like Professor Zurli, my father and many others has given us a great passion to continue the path they have traced».
«Today is a special day for me – the president of Fratta, Lucio Rondini, declared with emotion – Seeing all these people today is truly a source of pride».
A day that will remain unforgettable for Umbertide basketball and beyond. And we are sure that from up there, the Professor and Staccio have appreciated the homage of an entire city.