Albuquerque Journal (Albuquerque, NM)

'The Sopranos' a mob hit with many local Italian-Americans.(Personalities)

Byline: Barbara Chavez Journal Staff Writer

Hey, whaddya lookin' at? If you're like a lot of New Mexicans, you're probably looking at America's favorite dysfunctional family, "The Sopranos," on HBO.

The mob family saga has gained a huge national following over the past two seasons, and the new season is expected to open with a bada-bing-bada-boom Sunday at 10 p.m.

Are Italian-American fans of the show hard to find in a not-so Little Italy like New Mexico?

Whaddya, kiddin' me?

"The show keeps me at home even though I'm not home," said Darren Savino, an assistant men's basketball coach at the University of New Mexico. "It's my favorite show, I'm counting down the hours for the season premiere. A show really has to be good, for a basketball coach to watch anything that doesn't involve basketball, lemme tell ya."

Savino's boss, so to speak, is UNM head basketball coach Fran Fraschilla, who catches the show when he can.

"Darren, he's like the show's biggest fan," says Fraschilla. "He's the whole package. He's from Jersey City. He's from an Italian family and he sounds like it.

"We call him Coach Soprano. …

Log in to your account to read this article – and millions more.