Who is William Frack? Get to know him; this is generosity at its folksiest.
Several rich alumni often donate to their schools and are rightly lauded for it. I'm extremely happy for those philanthropists and their recipients. Athletic programs can't function without them. I won't even attempt to compare the two, because Bill Frack is not a Bowling Green graduate, and he's not your traditional rich man. He's just a lifelong admirer of Falcons basketball and showed his appreciation for it by setting up a $10 million endowment for the basketball program that he grew up with and grew old with.
I hope your tear ducts are fully operational, because this is just an adorable story. It's about a man and his 60-year love affair with a once-proud program.
I've always bragged that Bowling Green has sent more players to the NBA Hall of Fame than Duke. The days of Nate Thurmond are some that most bloggers (including myself) were not present for. We weren't even zygotes. But Thurmond and Butch Komives and Walt Piatkowski were among the best basketball players in the country back in the 1960s. Since then, the teams were competitive but never great. They haven't won the MAC Tournament or played in the NCAA Tournament since 1968. Attendance is near the bottom in the league, and sometimes the women outdraw the men. I'm not going to say Dan Dakich single-handedly drove the program to the loony bin; it might be implied, but goddamn it seemed like people were transferring out of the program as if Anderson Arena was situated inside the Grand Central.
And throughout all these years, Bill Frack has been a fan of Bowling Green basketball. There have been some harrowing times. Hell, I'm still trying to brain-bleach the teams led by Martin Samarco. It's not working. Instead, Mr. Frack is trying to help us forget these times by financing the team in hopes of it becoming "a national power." This is actually the goal. Not a MAC champion (which, hey, I'll take), and now tournament wins, but Top 10-rankings and Final Fours.
Again, I could fawn over all that money (and wonder how much of it a residual independent bloggers oughta be entitled to, and I would settle for unlimited soft pretzels and Diet Pepsi), but what I was most curious when I heard about the donation was, not "why basketball?" but "who's this guy?"
I couldn't find much on Bill Frack, and if I did, it was about some donation he made to the basketball program. He was almost as mysterious to piece together as the job function of Clarence Beaks in Trading Places. He was a fan with lots of money; this is all we could gather. I found this Blade story which mentions Mr. Frack as having served in the army in the '50s, and it's strange because he was simply a source in a story about a whole another topic — a Findlay, Ohio girl who left the military because of DADT.
Okay, this guy really is blue-collar. With over $10 million to give to his favorite basketball team. What the heck?
The BG Sentinel-Tribune story gave us a better glimpse of the pertinent question: where'd he get his money? Inheritance? Lottery? Colombian drugs? Invented the Snuggie? The answer is so white-bread boring. He saved up and wisely invested the money he made from a teacher's salary. It's pretty much the only way one can become a millionaire in Findlay, unless the government declares used tires as legal tender.
What also stands out in this story is his allegiances. He's not a Bowling Green-and-also-someone-better fan. He's a true orange and brown Bowling Green fan. Supporter of his MAC school first and, time permiting, perhaps some nice things about the Big Ten. That's the correct order of operations.
And, predictably, this story hasn't gotten a ton of national traction. Barely any, really. Somehow Gary Parrish of CBS Sports reported this story in its infancy, but since then it was mostly Ohio media.
Hopefully this inspires the dormant MAC fan to turn their heads and realize that, hey, there are so many reasons to reserve primary pride for their "smaller" school. It's cool, hip, and everybody's doing it.