Archive for Friday, April 27, 2001

Coaches saddened by move

Praise flows freely after Frederick announces retirement as Kansas’ athletics director

April 27, 2001


Gary Kempf's tenure at Kansas University has spanned 29 years.

In that time, the former KU athlete, swim coach and current administrator has never met anybody quite like Bob Frederick, his boss of the past 14 years.

"I've worked for a lot of different athletics directors during that time," said Kempf, first-year director of student-athlete life and coaches' professional development after a 24-year stint as men's and women's swim coach.

"Some for a couple of days, some for a couple of months and some for years, and Bob is by far the best person and AD that I've had the opportunity to work with. I think what we'll realize down the road a little bit is really what we've lost. He's a man of integrity and a man of great heart. Sometimes making hard decisions was difficult for him because his heart was so big."

Coaches and administrators at Kansas were quick to praise Frederick Thursday after learning at a morning meeting their boss was moving over to the academic side of the university.

"Dr. Bob is a wonderful, wonderful guy," KU volleyball coach Ray Bechard said. "He paints a picture of himself (in future years) sitting on his porch in his jeans (instead of usual coat and tie). I can see that. He deserves great things after giving so many great things to us.

"He is a dear, dear mentor. He models what I hope this athletic department will carry forward."

PersonalBorn: March 4, 1940, in St. Louis, Mo.Family: Wife, Margey; sons, Brian, 26; Brad, 24; Mark, 18; and Chris, 15.EducationBachelor of Science from Kansas University in 1962. Major: Chemistry.Master of Education from Kansas University in 1964.Doctorate of Education from Kansas University in 1984.Coaching Career1962-64 Graduate assistant at Kansas University.1964-66 Assistant boys basketball coach at Rich Central (Ill.) High.1966-1970 Head boys basketball coach at Russell High.1970-71 Head basketball coach at Coffeyville CC.1971-72 Assistant basketball coach at Kansas University.1972-75 Assistant basketball coach at Brigham Young University.1975-1976 Assistant basketball coach at Stanford University.1977-1981 Head basketball coach at Lawrence highAdministrative Career.1981-1985 Assistant athletics director at Kansas University.1985-1987 Athletics director at Illinois State University.1987-2001 Athletics director at Kansas University.

Bechard and all of KU's head coaches attended an emotional meeting with Frederick on Thursday morning. At that time, Frederick informed the coaches he'd be leaving for the School of Education in July.

"It was hard and very apparent how strongly he felt about us as coaches and as an athletic department. It was not a meeting we were looking forward to," Bechard said. "When it was called, we knew what was going to happen.

"Bob obviously left his mark, one that will be difficult to duplicate: That is, what a person should stand for dignity and respect. He lived by that creed. I hope (his successor) obviously is somebody who continues to feel strongly about a broad-based athletics program."

Here's a sampling about what others had to say about Frederick Thursday:

Ross Randall, men's golf coach: "Bob is a good friend. He did a wonderful job with men's golf. He gave us what we needed to be competitive and we've had good success over the years and he was really supportive of our program.

"I used to spend a lot of my time fund raising so we could elevate our program. He helped us enough I didn't have to do that any more. Now I'm involved raising money for a big practice area for us. He was very supportive of that and helped with that. He was what I always looked for (in boss). He has allowed me to be successful."

Richard Konzem, assistant athletics director: "I will remember his integrity and interest in student-athletes. He ended every meeting the same way. He said to, No. 1, follow all the rules, and, No. 2, treat everybody with dignity and respect.

"What Bob will leave behind in addition to conference championships, national championships and the hiring of Roy Williams those are all great things is the spirit of cooperation among staff and how to treat people. Whoever will be the new athletics director I think will be influenced by that.

"Bob Frederick has given me the opportunity since the day he hired me 20 years ago to work in every single area of this athletic department to gain experience. I hope I served him well from Day One in what he asked of me from fund raising, to setting up a compliance program after the 1988 probation, to supervising the Olympic sports, to being the administrative person with football and basketball. I thank him for all those opportunities he provided me in addition to the first one, which was hiring me."

Tracy Bunge, softball coach: "I'm extremely disappointed with the announcement of Dr. Frederick's resignation. Dr. Frederick has been a prime reason why I'm in this position. I thank him for giving me the opportunity to come back to my alma mater, for supporting me and doing things at the University of Kansas the right way.

"Right now it's with a heavy heart that I see him go. I wish him the best and I know that he will become a great professor here at the University of Kansas because he is quality person and he does things the right way."

Track coach Stanley Redwine: "I am very thankful to Dr. Frederick for giving me the opportunity to come to the University of Kansas. He has done a great job in the year that I have been here. He allowed us the flexibility to do what we needed to do in order to try a create a better team here at Kansas, and I think that is part of the role of an AD. He will be missed greatly in the athletic department and I wish him well in his new career."

Brad Frederick, director of basketball operations at Vanderbilt and son of Bob Frederick: "Certainly there have been people who have been against him. You can't worry about those people. That's everywhere in college athletics. He did his best. He did what was right. If they wanted him to do something unethical he didn't want to do it and I'm proud of him for that."

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