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Longtime Gonzaga Prep figure Nick Scarpelli dies at 87

For several years while Nick Scarpelli was Gonzaga Prep’s athletic director, he would donate his stipend to buy new uniforms for various teams.

“He was so generous and did so many things people never knew about,” Gonzaga Prep President Al Falkner said. “Those were things he didn’t want known. I can talk about it now.”

Scarpelli, a former algebra teacher, athletic director, coach, father, husband and friend, died in his sleep Friday morning. He was 87.

From 1968 to 1988, Scarpelli served as G-Prep’s A.D. Falkner replaced Scarpelli when he retired as an administrator. He served as the school’s plant manager until 1997. G-Prep named the gym in Scarpelli’s honor in the late 1990s.

“He loved what he did,” Falkner said. “He was so gracious to me and my wife when I started at Prep. He was a real mentor to me.”

Falkner said that even the way Scarpelli passed away was appropriate.

“It was very Nick,” Falkner said. “He was a quiet and gracious man. He would never tell you what he was going to do. He would just do it. There are very few men in the world that represent Gonzaga Prep as well as him.”

Scarpelli is survived by his wife, Mary, three daughters, two sons and numerous grandchildren.

He was G-Prep through and through. He graduated in 1942 when the school was known as Gonzaga High.

Scarpelli was an assistant football coach for two of the school’s most successful coaches, Bill Frazier and Don Anderson.

“He was really helpful in me getting started,” recalled Anderson, who coached from 1973 to 1997. “What stands out about Nick is he is Mr. Gonzaga Prep. He was multifaceted in all the jobs he held at Gonzaga Prep. He exemplified the school in his industrious work and attitude. He will be missed.”

Even in retirement, Scarpelli frequently had breakfast with former administrators throughout the Greater Spokane League. Carl Schultz, retired A.D. from North Central, said a breakfast was planned for next week.

“He was a great man to work with,” Schultz said. “We’d meet monthly as athletic directors and we had some heated discussions at times. But we always left the room as friends. He was honest, very sincere and stood up for what Gonzaga Prep needed done. He was very loyal to them and also to the Greater Spokane League.”

Scarpelli also served as the Bullpups’ head girls basketball coach. Falkner recalled Scarpelli coaching G-Prep to the GSL championship in 1983 and sixth at state. It was the first time the girls qualified for state.

Former G-Prep standout Lisa Oriard, a 1984 graduate, recalled a moment at state in a story written about her coach for G-Prep alumni.

Oriard had accidentally made a shot at the wrong basket.

“Nick left me in the game for a while and didn’t pull me out until he knew I would be all right,” Oriard was quoted in the story. “He truly cared about us and was very nurturing.”

Scarpelli’s children set up a scholarship years ago in the name of their parents.

“It’s to help students who couldn’t afford to go to Prep,” Falkner said.

Funeral arrangements are pending.