Though not a football fan, Greensburg C.C.’s Franco Alvarez takes pride in name

Friday, December 23, 2022 | 12:27 PM

Franco Alvarez isn’t a big football fan. In fact, he admittedly didn’t know much about Franco Harris.

Yet he has a connection to the late Pittsburgh Steelers great: The junior basketball player from Greensburg Central Catholic is named after Harris.

“That’s pretty cool,” Alvarez said. “I think I heard my parents say they were in the hospital and saw (Harris) on a magazine, and that’s how they came up with the name.”

That’s not quite how the story went, according to his father, Ramiro, who is from Mexico and lived in Chicago but is a longtime Steelers fan. But it’s a cool gesture, nonetheless.

“It’s a funny story,” he said. “We originally named him Lucas. That was his birth name for two days. But my mother hated that name and said she’d disown us if we named him that. She never divulged why that was, but we decided to change his name. I liked the Steelers and was a fan of Franco (Harris), so we named him Franco.”

The 6-foot-4 Franco Alvarez, who wears No. 25, not 32, found the name to be more interesting in light of Harris’ death and the 50th anniversary of the religiously praised Immaculate Reception.

“It’s neat to have that name after someone who meant so much to Pittsburgh and around this area,” he said.

The Alavarez family lives in North Huntingdon.

The eponymous Harris and his link to a local athlete is not unlike that of former Franklin Regional and current Notre Dame golfer Palmer Jackson, who is named after golf legend Arnold Palmer.

Or, former Greensburg Salem football playing brothers Martin, Luther and King Dean.

“We thought the name would be fortuitous,” his father said. “I thought he’d get into football, but he never did.”

Franco Alvarez’s mother, Kristina (Meigs) was a lacrosse player at Woodland Hills and Purdue also played women’s ice hockey in Philadelphia.

Bill Beckner Jr. is a TribLive reporter covering local sports in Westmoreland County. He can be reached at


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