Archive for Friday, June 12, 2009

Former KU athletic director dies

Bob Frederick, who played and coached basketball at Kansas University and served as athletic director for 14 years, died Friday night at Kansas University Hospital at the age of 69.

June 12, 2009, 10:00 p.m. Updated June 13, 2009, 1:06 a.m.


Frederick leaves KU athletics legacy

Kansas athletics lost a special member in Bob Frederick on Friday night. Enlarge video

Accident occurred on damaged pavement

Thursday night’s bicycle accident apparently occurred when Bob Frederick hit a damaged section of pavement as he was riding north on Kasold Drive and was approaching Sixth Street. Frederick lost control of his bike and struck his head on the pavement.

Crews from the Lawrence Public Works department had patched the damaged section of pavement by 9 a.m. Friday. But city officials said the damage was not weather-related, and not considered a pothole.

“Right of way use permits show Black Hills Energy had been working in the area," said Lisa Patterson, a city spokeswoman.

The energy company had a permit to use the right of way in that area from May 19-29 to repair a gas main leak, Patterson said.

The city’s franchise agreement with Black Hills Energy “speaks to the company’s responsibilities to return the right of way to its previous condition,” Patterson said.

“The city has prepared a bill of $48 for the pavement patching to be submitted to Black Hills Energy,” Patterson said.

Bob Frederick, who played and coached basketball at Kansas University and served as athletic director for 14 years, died Friday night at Kansas University Hospital at the age of 69.

Frederick, who from 1995 to 1996 served as chair of the prestigious NCAA men’s basketball committee, died of injuries sustained in a Thursday evening bicycle accident.

“I can say he was the finest gentleman I’ve ever known in my life,” former KU basketball coach Roy Williams said Friday from his home in Chapel Hill, N.C.

Frederick hired Williams to replace Larry Brown in 1988, when future Hall of Famer Williams was an unknown assistant at the University of North Carolina, where he is now the head coach.

“He had such high standards ethically and morally, and the way he was concerned about the student-athlete … it was mind-boggling,” Williams added. “He was such a wonderful person, a family man. I don’t know where I would be right now … I know I would not have been able to enjoy so many unbelievable experiences if not for Bob Frederick. The list of athletic directors who would have hired Roy Williams in 1988 … the number of that list is one.”

Frederick died around 8 p.m. Friday at KU Hospital, where he underwent surgery Thursday night after a bicycle accident near the intersection of Sixth Street and Kasold Drive.

Kelly Hale, a spokeswoman for the Frederick family, issued a statement on behalf of the family: “We would like to thank our family and friends for their love and support during this difficult time. As an educator, coach and athletic director, our father touched many lives. He always wanted to live a life that mattered and he did.”

Frederick, who is survived by wife Margey and sons Brian, Brad, Mark and Christopher, donated his organs. His family encouraged others to become organ donors.

Outpouring of tributes

The news of Frederick’s bike accident and death both shocked and saddened friends of Frederick scattered all over the country.

“I love him. I’ve known him for 30 years. So many of us can say we don’t have a better friend,” said Bill Hancock, the first full-time administrator of the BCS.

“You think about the ways you know a guy. I worked with Bob on ticketing at the Big Eight tournament. He inspired me to ride my bike across the country,” added Hancock, who rode his bicycle coast to coast in a tribute to his own son, Will, who died in a plane crash in 2001 while working at Oklahoma State.

“We used to run every morning when he was on the NCAA Tournament committee and I was director of the tournament. It was our standard meeting at 6 a.m. to go running. He is an inspiration to me.”

Frederick, who was hired by then-Chancellor Gene Budig in 1987 and wound up with the second-longest tenure of a KU athletic director behind Phog Allen (19 years), also worked for Chancellor Robert Hemenway.

Since August 2001, Frederick taught in KU’s Department of Health, Sport and Exercise Science in the School of Education, and for two years served as department chair. He specialized in sport management, sport law and sport facilities.

“On behalf of the entire Jayhawk nation, I offer my sincerest condolences to Bob Frederick’s family and friends,” Hemenway said in a release issued by KU on Friday night. “Bob was a class act who led by example, the epitome of good sportsmanship and ethical conduct. He has been a role model for countless student-athletes and educators, and KU is a better place because of him.”

Noted current AD Lew Perkins: “Bob Frederick was an outstanding collegiate athletics administrator and, more importantly, a terrific human being, a loving husband and a great father. … And yet for all his success, his trademark was his sincere caring for student-athletes and coaches. He continued that legacy of caring into his work on the KU faculty. We will all miss him.”

Noted successes

Former KU assistant ADs Richard Konzem and Doug Vance worked for Frederick during his entire KU tenure, one in which KU teams won 32 conference titles and produced 41 Academic All-Americans.

KU during the 1992-93 academic year became the first school to win a football bowl game (the Aloha Bowl), reach the men’s basketball Final Four and advance to the baseball College World Series in the same school year.

“I am so thankful. I stood in line at Sam Miranda’s funeral last week, and Bob and I and Linda Davis (wife of KU radio play-by-play announcer Bob Davis) talked 40 minutes,” said Konzem, now the Rockhurst AD. “Intercollegiate athletics would be a lot better today if we had more people like Bob Frederick. He cared about kids. He had a list I use today … the qualities you look for in a head coach. The first is being a good person.”

Noted Vance: “Bob had a great leadership quality. He walked the path in life with set values. He treated people with a great deal of respect. He was for the student-athlete. He presided over a period of time there was a great deal of success in KU athletics. He had a positive influence on everybody he met. He held enormous respect nationally.”

Frederick’s AD predecessor, Monte Johnson, said he respected Frederick greatly.

“Bob probably represented integrity in college athletics as much as anybody I can think of,” Johnson said. “He knew players and coaches were the reason fans supported the program. He did a great job in the background. He’s as good a person as you can have in college athletics. He brought a coach here that gave us 15 of the greatest years of KU basketball. Bob’s the one who made that happen.”

That coach — Williams — will truly miss his buddy.

“There’s never been a person like him,” Williams said.


Jonathan Kealing 8 years, 9 months ago

TOB- Good catch. I was copying sentences out of the old story and using the new information and got caught with no first reference, so I added the first name and accidentally cut the last.

Jonathan Kealing Online editor

Dayle Hodges 8 years, 9 months ago

So sorry to hear that...I remember the last time he was injured.

del888 8 years, 9 months ago

i live in the area and also noticed this 'hole'. it is obvious that the construction co. caused the damage but did not fill it back in. they poured concrete along the gutter, but this hole is out in the street. they should have repaired that too.

Susan Mangan 8 years, 9 months ago

Absolutely tragic. God bless his family, friends, and the community, and may he rest in peace. He will be missed dearly.

invent 8 years, 9 months ago

What a loss for Kansas and the WORLD. A true hero.

dipweed 8 years, 9 months ago

$48 bill for negligence that led to loss of life?

Kent Fisher 8 years, 9 months ago

We were fortunate to have known a man of his integrity and character. HIs contributions to the university and community were tremendous. He was part of our KU family. The current administration would do itself well to take a page from this man. Lew may be "successful," but hardly a member of our KU family.

guesswho 8 years, 9 months ago

How very, very tragic for his family, the community, and beyond.

May peace be with all who knew him.

sustainabilitysister 8 years, 9 months ago

Saw a double rainbow this evening around that time and thought of him. Love you Coach Bob and family.

Boston_Corbett 8 years, 9 months ago

Bob Frederick always represented everything good about Kansas, Kansans, and Kansas character.

That eliminates about 98% of the people who post here.

He valued the diversity of Kansas....and Kansans. He treasured Pratt, Kingman, and Beloit as much as he did Lawrence. He advocated on behalf of education. He loved his students, his athletes, and the University. He accepted challenges with a laugh, but always kept his values of honesty. He raised a wonderful family, and supported their adventures.

I am fearful that KU and KU Athletics will never see someone with such Kansas-based values again.

I am so sad for Margie and his children.

This community is about to discover how treasured this man really was.

This paper and the university have no idea how much this man was treasured.

Piggles 8 years, 9 months ago

What a horrible punch in the stomach. . . Bob will be sorely missed. Deepest Sympathy to Bob's family and friends. God Bless

Kylee Manahan 8 years, 9 months ago

I agree with KUHOOPS! My heart and prayers are with his family.

Dan Edwards 8 years, 9 months ago

Bob Frederick was the man who brought then-unknown Roy Williams to coach at KU. KU's basketball program attained its premier status under Bob's watch (just one his many accomplishments at KU).

A huge loss for KU and Lawrence. Thoughts and prayers go out to the Frederick family.

xfactor 8 years, 9 months ago

"The city has prepared a bill of $48 for the pavement patching to be submitted to Black Hills Energy,"

It would be nice to see this sentence deleted. Placing such an insignificant dollar amount as the cost to make this situation right is in poor taste. It may have been a quote, but in the context of what has happened I think it should have been left out.

UFC_FAN 8 years, 9 months ago

A very kind and humble family. Bob's wife fought hard to get me in to preschool so I could start kindergarten on time (speech impediment). Thankfully I didn't have to have that stigma of being a year older than my classmates during elementary and jr. high school. My mom just told me this (I graduated from Lhs in 1995 with no problems at all).

My mom worked at the downtown post office and she said she never met a more polite gentleman than Bob.

My very sincere condolences go to Brad and his family.

jaywalker 8 years, 9 months ago

I feel a great sadness at this news. I was fortunate to meet Mr. Frederick on a couple of occasions and he had a magnetic personality and was a warm, sincere man. My heartfelt condolences go not just to his family and friends, but to everyone who had the pleasure of meeting the man or had been influenced by him in any way. His passing will be profoundly felt in the KU community, Lawrence, and the state of Kansas.

clyde_never_barks 8 years, 9 months ago

Boston - you nailed it in so many ways. People with his class and character are few and far between these days. Certainly in a class of his own.

FormerCentralKansan 8 years, 9 months ago

I just saw Bob about a month ago at my job and he was always so friendly to everyone. He represented everything that was good about college athletics and he meant the world to the KU Nation. It is hard to believe he is no longer with us.

kateku 8 years, 9 months ago

A horrible loss for the KU family. My thoughts and prayers go out to the family of this great man.

Boston_Corbett 8 years, 9 months ago

I have never met anyone in Lawrence or at KU who has ever had a better understanding of Kansas, of Kansans, or of Kansas values than Bob Frederich.

He knew and loved Pratt, Kingman, Beloit, Hays, Quinter, Garden City, Bird City, Tribune all equally, He had coached a game at most of these places. He valued the diversity of Kansas which exists outside of the ivory towers of Lawrence.

He loved KU. He loved KU Athletics. He loved Margie and his family. It would be very difficult to find bad words ever said about him. Which based upon his positions in life, is pretty incredible.

His Kansas-based values were his life.

Lawrence should give Bob Frederick due respect.


truman 8 years, 9 months ago

The world needs more men like Bob Frederick. He was a great man.

riverdrifter 8 years, 9 months ago

I only had one encounter with Mr. Frederick, years ago, and I came away from it thinking that there goes one Class Guy. This is a distinct loss for the Lawrence/KU community.

bkreed1960 8 years, 9 months ago

I'm very sad to hear about Bob Frederick's death. He was a very outstanding, classy man. I saw him many times around town and he always seem very kind and positive. He will be terribly missed. My prayers and thoughts go out to his wife and family.

JHawker 8 years, 9 months ago

Our thoughts go out to Bob and his family. Lawrence has lost a person full of integrity and grace. He will be missed in the Jayhawk family.

aha 8 years, 9 months ago

very, very sad day for all of us. he will be missed.

fsfirebird 8 years, 9 months ago

tell people how much you love them, make sure they know you care. don't sweat the small stuff. you never know when you're going to lose someone important to you or your life is going to change.

RIP Mr. Frederick

Boston_Corbett 8 years, 9 months ago

Marion: Please keep your politics out of this thread.

kusp8 8 years, 9 months ago

Boston_Corbett says: I am fearful that KU and KU Athletics will never see someone with such Kansas-based values again.

I couldn't agree more.

Fatty_McButterpants 8 years, 9 months ago

I'm guessing that Dr. Frederick wasn't wearing a helmet at the time of his accident?

nnelson 8 years, 9 months ago


He was wearing a helmet. He was an advocate for bicycle safety and after a 1994 accident actually became a spokesman for a helmet safety program for Safe Kids Coalition.

Nick Nelson Web reporter

Evan Ridenour 8 years, 9 months ago

Now I know what I want to say.

Bob was a great man and it is unfortunate that the taking of a life is what it takes to bring awareness to the dangers around us... and specifically the inherent negligence of how our cities streets and sidewalks are maintained.

As a motorist... long distance runner and bike rider, I am aware of the poor state of maintenance that the roads and sidewalks ALL OVER town are in and the danger this poses to us all.

Sidewalks that run adjacent to private property are the legal responsibility of the property owners to maintain... the city needs to start enforcing this ordinance.

The city of Lawrence owes us, the tax payers, a duty to maintain the roads and to enforce any contracts that shift the duty to third parties... the city needs to maintain the roads and enforce compliance with the third parties the city contracts with.

The hole that cost Bob his life isn't an exception, its the rule in this town and unfortunately no matter how much money his family recoups from what I guess will be a very successful action against Black Hill Energy for negligence it will not make up for the loss of his life to his family and to our community.

The state of the roads and sidewalks in this city are disastrous and it shouldn't take the death of someone to make the city realize the problem. All it takes is a drive around town or a walk around anywhere east of Iowa to see how deteriorated the infrastructure is... how bout instead of funding things like the bus system... the pool, etc, the city concentrate on properly funding essential services like INFRASTRUCTURE MAINTENANCE.

audibleangel 8 years, 9 months ago

this is so condolences to the Frederick family.

igby 8 years, 9 months ago

Looks like Black Hills Energy will need a good lawyer!

They dug up the yard across the street and left a mess there too! Had a back hoe there at 6:00 AM. last month; they were cutting off the peoples gas because they were only 12 days late. Charged them for the hoe and it took them 5 day to get it turn back on. Scumbags!

CriscoBurden 8 years, 9 months ago

The passing of Bob Frederick leaves me with a heavy heart. As a graduate of the Sports Management program at KU, Dr. Frederick was a huge influence on me and my career choice. He provided me with a great deal of advice and wisdom. His passing is extremely saddening; the world needs more people like Dr. Frederick. My continued thoughts and prayers to the entire Frederick family.

Linda Aikins 8 years, 9 months ago

He looked you in the eye and smiled at you and you could feel it clear down to your toes. A true genuine man.

God bless you, Bob, and my prayers and admiration go to you and your family. The world will certainly miss you.

Sharon Aikins 8 years, 9 months ago

What more can I say? We have lost a class act here. I have met Bob and Margey and never found two people more determined to help others. My heart breaks for his family, for the Lawrence community and world's loss of a man we should all emulate. If there were more like him, this would be a better world to live in. My sincerest condolences to his family.

luv2raft 8 years, 9 months ago

Bob Frederick was one of the finest leaders KU has ever had. We will miss him very much!

Noweigh 8 years, 9 months ago

I had the priviledge to work with Freddy on some projects in the past. But most importantly we had several long discussions not only about athletics but about the world in general. His unassuming, soft spoken approach and his humor always impressed me most. He was a quiet giant that will be truly missed.

black_butterfly 8 years, 9 months ago

My thoughts and prayers are with the family. This is so tragic and was so unnecessary. I hope Black Hills does not get away with this, but it sounds like they will. Our bills are already so outrageous. If they do get sued, rest assured we will pay for it with even higher bills.

reversehecht 8 years, 9 months ago

Dr. Bob was one of my favorite professors at KU. He was truly a wonderful man and a great individual. His family are in my thoughts. He will be missed.

Cassie Klemme 8 years, 9 months ago

This is so sad he was one of my favorite teachers at LHS. My prayers are out to his friends and family>

bernadette 8 years, 9 months ago

This is terrible. I have been in spin class with Bob for several years now in the winter. He was a great person. Kind and friendly to everyone whether he knew you or not. It makes me so sad that some commenters on here think he wasn't wearing a helmet or he was too old or bikes are meant to be on roads. The thing is, you have to do what you love and if you do any one thing a LOT there is more of a chance that you might get hurt. But you have to take this risk to live and Bob lived. Most people aren't living because they are scared ride their bike, scared to walk home in the dark, scared climb a mountain or ski down a hill. That is not a life.

My thoughts go out to Bob's family.

Dayle Hodges 8 years, 9 months ago

Just turned on the computer and read the news. This is so sad. I only met Dr. Frederick a couple of times, but he really was a class act. My condolences to all of his friends and family. It's true, danger is all around us, and it is so important to make sure that the people you care for know how much you love them. One never knows when they may be taken away from this life.

StirrrThePot 8 years, 9 months ago

This is a very sad day for KU. I was a student during the heydey of his tenure as AD, reaping great enjoyment from his coaching find of the century in Roy Williams, a College World Series, and two Aloha Bowls. He seemed like a good man and did well for KU.

My heart and deepest sympathies go out to his family and friends, and all who loved him.

rmutt1917 8 years, 9 months ago

I think the question about whether he was wearing a helmet (for me, al least) was raised because the account didn't specify, and the accompanying video footage showed a bike (presumably his vehicle) w/the helmet clipped on the handlebars. I know most dare-devils don't read much, but for the young and impressionable, I think this is a necessary detail when describing the event, just as whether people were wearing seat-belts in auto fatalities.

Jonathan Kealing 8 years, 9 months ago

All indications are that he was wearing his helmet. He was an outspoken proponent of bike safety and a bike helmet saved his life 15 years ago. He almost certainly had on a helmet.

Jonathan Kealing Online editor

mom_of_three 8 years, 9 months ago

I only met him once last year, and was acquainted with him because we served on a committee for a benefit. He was very gracious and kind, and told some great educational stories to the group about playing basketball at KU, about Phog Allen. He was very genuous and generous.
My condolences to the family.

tigerforlife 8 years, 9 months ago

A wonderful man and a terrible loss for KU, and all of us...prayers to his family.

Hwy50 8 years, 9 months ago

My wife was at the intersection before the ambulance arrived. He was certainly wearing a helmet.

TheOriginalCA 8 years, 9 months ago

I remember Bob Frederick as a coach, teacher, friend, someone you were always glad to see. He would always stop and talk to you with his very soft spoken polite demeanor. My most fond memory of Bob was spending time with him at a two night boy scout campout. How many men of his stature do you know of who would put those kinds of things first and foremost in his priorities? What an outstanding individual.

BigPrune 8 years, 9 months ago

I attended one of Coach Frederick's summer basketball camps at Lawrence High. He was a real class act.

sustainabilitysister 8 years, 9 months ago

Coach Bob was not only a caring individual towards people, but had a great love for the 4-leggeds and nature. He was all love.

Christine Anderson 8 years, 9 months ago

How unbelievably sad. I met the man once in J&S Coffee. Very nice, down-to-earth person.

kusp8 8 years, 9 months ago

I hope Black Hills gets a lawsuit shoved up its arse!

I also think it'd be interesting to see what would happen if the Frederick family sued the City of Lawrence for negligence in its responsibility to maintain the roads and sidewalks. Off the top of my head I can't think of any recent cases that would set precedent.

alm77 8 years, 9 months ago

"The energy company had a permit to use the right of way in that area from May 19-29 to repair a gas main leak, Patterson said.

The city’s franchise agreement with Black Hills Energy “speaks to the company’s responsibilities to return the right of way to its previous condition,” Patterson said."

Previous condition? I would bet anyone would find the argument that they did leave it how they found it, very, very plausible. The street I live on is lined with these types of "non-weather related, non-pot holes".

Linda Aikins 8 years, 9 months ago

Please stop with the talk of Black Hills and lawsuits and anger and such.

The topic is Bob and I personally would love to see nothing but positive caring tributes here. He deserves that. Start a blog if you want to vent on that. It won't bring this wonderful man back.

middleoftheroad 8 years, 9 months ago

I was fortunate enough to take Dr. Bob's classes through the HSES department shortly after his tenure as AD. I've never had more respect for an educator that him. He truly cared about the students at KU (both student athletes and non student athletes). His classes were engaging, informative, and the true epitomy of what higher education should be. While a student, I also came to know his wife Margey and I can say that I've never met more caring people. The world has certainly lost one of the good ones...class seems to be a common thought amongst all of us and that is truly what he was.

Margey and their family is in my thoughts as they mourn a tremendous man.

Clickker 8 years, 9 months ago

Lets cease with the lawsuit chatter. Not gonna happen. By all accounts, Dr. Bob was a good man. But potholes are a normal road hazard that bikers have to expect. Possibly, if someone dug a hole and left it in the middle of the road, that would be gross negligence, but that doesnt seem to be the case here. Bikers assume some risk when biking on city streets. Thats why it is a good idea to wear a helmet ( which he was) and obey traffic laws , which he presumably was as well. Locking feet into the petals is never a good idea.

Again, this is sad, and the loss of a good man is never easy, especially 20 years too early.

frank regnier 8 years, 9 months ago

I did not have the privilege to meet Mr. Frederick but from the sounds of the comments from others, he was an "awesome person" to all. My condolences to friends and family and our hearts and prayers are with you. I seen the "pothole" left by BHE and it resembles many potholes in my neighborhood. We have called the city several times and when they finally come out to fill them, that is all that is done. East Lawrence is really in need of major repairs and not just tossing in asphalt and patting with a shovel and calling it OK! There are many potholes that need repairing and it is a "tragedy" that this community has lost a great person simply because of negligence. Lawsuits are not the answer. Accountability is what our country is "lacking". Come on Black Hills and City of Lawrence, WE CAN DO BETTER THAN THIS! Black Hills Energy should feel compelled to repair "all the streets" after this incident!

rtwngr 8 years, 9 months ago

I knew Bob Fredericks and he was everything that everybody said he was. It's too bad that our world does not have more Bob Fredericks' in it. It would be a better, friendlier, and far more honest world indeed.

Jill Jevens 8 years, 9 months ago

Dr. Frederick's death is a shock. The way I am going to deal with this is the way I hope many will, and that is to honor his memory by living a little more like he did, with integrity and care. Margey - I am thinking about you and your boys tonight. It's hard to imagine the loss you feel, but please know that many are praying for you at this time.

bigvic 8 years, 9 months ago

Our most sincere condolences to Margey and the boys and their families. Bob was truly a "class act." To say he was the genuine article is the understatement of the century. He was one of those rare individuals who always does the right thing, no matter the outcome. So absolutely perfect. We are in tears down here in Texas just imagining the tremendous loss that the entire Fredericks family must be experiencing. The entire West family loves Bob and Margey and the boys and are in shock, as we know all of Lawrence, Kansas must be also.

factstraight 8 years, 9 months ago

Actually, I believe that Black Hills Energy replaced the gas lines then contracted out the landscaping and concrete and asphalt replacement. I saw local companies doing those jobs, and please don't use this blog as a way to complain about your high gas bill, come on people, show some respect for coach.

jlw53 8 years, 9 months ago

I knew Bob casually and would concur with all the good comments here on his character and integrity.

His most important legacy is how he put such emphasis on elevating the academics of all the ahtletes on his watch as AD by funding and staffing the tutoring group with quality people. Fortunately the program has maintained high standards and continues to flourish and improve under his successors - a tribute to their respect for the foundation he set in place.

I doubt the family sues anyone over this as Bob would not have wanted that.

Sympathy to all family and friends.

bearded_gnome 8 years, 9 months ago

Comfort and strength to his wife and family. a great man dies, he leaves a great hole, great shoes to fill, and great grief.

maybe the next street Lawrence builds and has to name ought to be Bob Frederick Way. his person and his way ought to be honored.
his roots in our community run deep. can we honor greater than such a teacher, mentor, and example?

[please note, I'm not suggesting changing the name of an existing street]

VTHawk 8 years, 9 months ago

Rest in peace, Dr. Frederick. Your family is in Lawrence's prayers.

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