In the world of college athletics, there are the haves and the have-nots. When a university has people like Bob Frederick, as did The University of Kansas, then by all accounts it should be considered one of the haves.
Frederick, who served as athletic director at KU from 1987-2001, sustained severe injuries from a bicycling accident on Thursday June 11 and died from those injuries on Friday evening.
Bob Frederick was more than the head of a major college athletics program. He was an educator to many, a leader to many more, a mentor for some, and a terrific human being to all.
Frederick was among the most respected administrators in all of college sports. He served on the NCAA Men's Division-I basketball committee for six years, the final two as chairman.
Frederick was a visionary who chose an obscure assistant coach to lead the tradition-rich basketball program in 1988. Roy Williams got his head coaching start at KU, and became fast friends with Frederick, who entrusted Williams with continuing the legacy of Kansas Basketball. Frederick also hired Glen Mason to guide the Jayhawk football program.
The 1992-1993 school year was the pinnacle of athletics during Frederick's tenure at KU. The Jayhawks won the Aloha Bowl in football, competed in the Final Four in basketball, and went to the College World Series in baseball.
Coach Frederick had the ability to remember names and faces of people he had met in his life's journey. He had a way of sensing when something was off kilter in your life, and would find just the right words of encouragement to say, at just the right time.
KU is steeped in tradition and history, academic and athletic success. What makes Kansas such a special place are its' people, and former Athletic Director Bob Frederick exemplified all that is good at KU.
The life and legacy of Bob Frederick, and his work at the helm of the Jayhawks athletic program will be what many remember him for. For this writer, Frederick meant much more, and he came to symbolize what a young man should aspire to be.
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