Archive for Monday, June 15, 2009

It’s time to think tribute

Bob Frederick served as Kansas University athletic director for 14 years. He died earlier this year.

Bob Frederick served as Kansas University athletic director for 14 years. He died earlier this year.

June 15, 2009


Now that the flow of tears has slowed and family and friends have joined together to provide strength and remember one of the greatest men Lawrence ever has known, it’s time to start thinking of a way to honor Dr. Bob Frederick.

The most obvious option would be the one thing that seems to be done throughout sports without becoming trite and tired.

You’ve seen them on countless uniforms throughout the years, and there’s no reason to think that KU couldn’t spring for the black patches with the letters “BF” on them for its athletic teams to wear proudly during the 2009-10 seasons.

Every team at KU should wear them, from the men’s basketball team right down to the rowing team, because every team benefited from Frederick’s devotion to the university.

In all honesty, this quest — honoring the kind of man who made many feel like he was a part of their family — is bigger than one school. It should be about more than a couple dozen college teams wearing his initials on their sleeves.

Why not incorporate Lawrence High into this as well?

It might seem silly to have a major university and a high school pay tribute to someone in the same way. But does anything speak to the concept of “community” more than seeing the same patches on high school basketball jerseys and college football helmets?

Did anyone represent community quite like Frederick?

Frederick’s passing proved to be a tragic blow to an entire community. Beyond his ties to KU as an athletic director or Lawrence High as a former basketball coach, we lost a friend, a mentor, a father, an ambassador. We lost a familiar face and a friendly smile.

Former Lawrence High boys basketball coach Chris Davis coached Mark Frederick, one of Bob Frederick’s four sons, and spent many hours with the family’s patriarch both in and out of the basketball context.

Last month, Davis announced his retirement from coaching, citing a desire to find a way to re-emphasize the things that were most important to him: sportsmanship, strong character, leading by example. All are traits that Davis developed in no small way because of his relationship with Frederick.

“He was as positive a mentor as I could have had,” Davis said. “Sportsmanship and the way you carried yourself and the way you led young men were very important to him, and I learned a lot about those things from him. Working to improve things in those areas is a road I want to go down, and I can’t think of a better way to honor a man like Bob Frederick than to do something to make a difference.”

There’s no doubt that scholarship foundations, awards, perhaps even buildings or monuments soon will find themselves associated with Bob Frederick’s name. They ought to. Stopping short of honoring him the way he made many of us feel so honored to know him would be a shame.

After such a tragedy rocks the lives of such wonderful people, we have to believe that there is a reason for it all. Frederick, throughout his life and beyond, was a powerful enough presence to inspire the good in people and encourage change where it’s needed most.

It’s too bad the space on those little black patches is so limited.


Fishman 8 years, 7 months ago

Firing Lew would be perfect! What a great idea. Then hire Chris Davis to take his place.

suzy 8 years, 7 months ago

Let's please leave Lew out of this and pay tribute to Dr. Frederick. I was one of the fortunate ones who knew Dr. Frederick personally. Words cannot describe what a great man he was. I will miss so many things about him, but I will especially miss his beautiful smile. What a beautiful spirit he was. I hope we as a Lawrence community can find some way to pay tribute to Dr. Frederick.

My thoughts and prayers are with his family and friends.

Martini_Boy 8 years, 7 months ago

I raise my glass to toast the life of such a great man. I still wonder how much better our conference would have been with him at the reins as commish of the Big XII.

I think a statue or changing the name of missouri St would be nice tributes....

bender 8 years, 7 months ago

I think they should rename Allen Field House Drive to Frederick's Way.

bmcmurray 8 years, 7 months ago

Martini_Boy...please get off of the renaming Missouri Street kick!!! We live on that street, we respect all that KU has to offer, but that will set a bad precedence in this town. A monument dedicated to him near Allen Field house would be much nicer and all who partake in basketball or drive down Naismith can enjoy it. Only a small percentage of people drive down Missouri Street for the football games. We are much better than Missouri at this petty rivalry.

notajayhawk 8 years, 7 months ago

Martini_Boy (Anonymous) says…

"I think a statue or changing the name of missouri St would be nice tributes"

Think big.

Rename Missouri.

Richard Heckler 8 years, 7 months ago

This man was one powerful positive force throughout the community no question about it. Place his bronze statue featuring his warm smile at 9th and Mass in front of the bank. With a basketball in one hand and a bicycle by his side. He was more than just KU.

And maybe Roy's winning seasons somewhere in the mix.

gl0ck0wn3r 8 years, 7 months ago

I think Bob would find something that actually helps students or student-athletes more appropriate as a tribute. A scholarship fund, student recreational center or an academic center would be more appropriate.

kusp8 8 years, 7 months ago

I'm pretty sure Dr. Bob already has a scholarship, but I could be wrong. I agree with notajayhawk, rename Missouri. Or, how about renaming Kivisto field to Frederick field since Kivisto is a crook and was fired shortly after he made the donation.

Jay Riner 8 years, 7 months ago

I'd say that we name the SLT after him if it didn't have such a negative stigma around here.

Danimal 8 years, 7 months ago

I like the "Frederick Field" or "Frederick Memory Highway" ideas. Of course the little black patches are a great idea as well, but something more permanent would also be a nice tribute.

saligon 8 years, 7 months ago

A community biking / hiking trail around and through the city of Lawrence. This would include the flood control dikes with links to interior trails. Let’s think big. This would be so beneficial to many people. A new park would be the focal point of the trails and would of course be named Dr. Bob Frederick Memorial Recreation Facility.

DB Ashton 8 years, 7 months ago

Frederick's Way? Perfectly pious, ironic hypocrisy. His way was thoroughly rejected by the broad university community, in favor of Perkins’ way, or something like it and, to Mr. Perkins’ credit, he delivered.

Bob Frederick’s life was its own memorial. How depressingly predictable that those who rejected his legacy so comprehensively would now clamour to hijack it and lay claim with some cheap trinket.

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