Sports

Coach Robyn Fralick brings her winning ways to BGSU women’s basketball

By DAVID DUPONT BG Independent News With the losses piling up over the last few seasons for the women’s basketball team, Bowling Green State University has turned to someone who knows about winning. Robyn Fralick comes from Division II Ashland University where her teams racked up 104 wins in her three seasons as head coach, including a Division II record of 73 wins in a row. In her time there – seven as an assistant coach and three as a head coach – the team won two national championships and was runner-up twice. She wants to bring those winning ways to Bowling Green. Fralick talked about her aspirations for her team Thursday as the speaker at the Chamber of Commerce’s Mid-Year Awards Program. Making the move to Bowling Green was not easy. The Michigan native enjoyed her decade at Ashland. “I feel I grew up there.” Fralick met and married her husband in Ashland, and that’s where their two children were born. But they found in Bowling Green “a community we not only could, but wanted to raise our family.” “We’re very, very excited to be part of the community. We love a place where kids can ride on their bikes and feel safe and comfortable.” At Ashland, she had a mentor in Sue Ramsey, the head coach who hired her. Two of Ramsey’s core beliefs, Fralick said, were: “Take care of people and take care of details. … She lived it out every day. You cannot steal her joy.” Fralick said she also learned from Ramsey to never let how people treat you dictate how you treat them. She carried those lessons with her as she took over as head coach. The 73-win streak was “cool,” she said. “It was less about the number. It was everything about the how and why.” It showed what could be accomplished “when a group of people decide that working hard matters, when a group of people commit every day.” “It’s not about who you’re playing, it’s about playing the game in the right way for 40 minutes….

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Disabilities melt away for Ice Frogs hockey team

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News   Off the ice, they are kids with autism, cerebral palsy or attention deficit disorders. But once they leave the bench, their disabilities melt away and they become part of a team. They are the Black Swamp Ice Frogs, an ice hockey team for players with disabilities. The team makes room for people to play the sport regardless of their abilities. “It’s really neat to watch the kids play,” said Heather Sayler, whose son, Ethan, plays with the Ice Frogs. “It’s making them fit in.” “No one is looking at you and judging you,” said Ethan’s father, Todd Sayler. The Ice Frogs’ current players range from age 4 to 35. Some of the common disabilities are autism, Down syndrome, respiratory problems, physical impairments, cerebral palsy, and attention deficit disorders. The Ice Frogs hockey team was formed in 2012, and has about 15 players. All the teams in their league play no-contact hockey. Sue Kepling’s grandson, Dylan, 18, is non verbal and has 13 disorders. But that doesn’t keep him off the ice. “To see him stand on ice skates, with all his disabilities, is amazing,” Kepling said. But ice hockey is expensive. And ice hockey for kids with disabilities can have crippling costs. The parents are not asked to help with expenses, since that would make it impossible for some of the players to participate. “We want the kids there,” Kepling said. Ice time alone at the BGSU Ice Arena costs the team $2,600 a year. The team has never had new equipment. They started out five years ago with hand-me-downs, and continue trying to make do. It became glaringly obvious last year at a tournament game that the Ice Frogs looked like the rag-tag Bad News Bears of hockey. “We’ve been using used hockey equipment since we started,” Heather Sayler said. Shoelaces are missing from the skates. Pads are falling apart. Helmets are far from the latest technology in protection. Then there’s the unpleasant factor of incredibly sticky equipment, with a mouse nest being found in one…


BGSU sports management students to get behind the scenes look at Super Bowl

By PARKER BROWN Submitted by the SPORTS MANAGEMENT ALLIANCE AT BGSU The Sport Management Alliance (SMA) is sending 32 lucky Bowling Green State University (BGSU) students to one of the largest sporting events on the face of the Earth: Super Bowl LII. Come February, they will spend a week in Minneapolis, getting a first-hand glimpse on what it takes to put on such a massive entertainment spectacle. On February 2, 2014, 112.2 million Americans tuned in to watch the Seattle Seahawks defeat the Denver Broncos in a 43 – 8 affair. It remains the last time SMA had student representatives working the Super Bowl until this coming year. But it’s not just the game that matters to SMA and the students. What matters is what the opportunity represents. “This trip provides the opportunity for our members to get experience in the field, build their resumes and network with professionals,” said Courtney Burson, Travel Coordinator for SMA and Junior in the Sport Management program. “Ultimately though, the goal is help them with professional development.” Trips like these are where SMA’s main purpose truly comes to life. The organization is founded on the belief that providing students interested in the sports industry with real life experience and opportunities to pick the brains of executives and employers not only directly benefits the student but gives SMA and BGSU more prestige as well. This aspect goes beyond just the students preparing to graduate, extending to the underclassmen who likely have little to no professional athletic experience in a collegiate or professional environment. Out of the 32 students who will be heading North to Minneapolis in late January, just under half are either freshmen or sophomores at BGSU. Juniors lead the way by overall numbers with 15 attendees, but there are mix of all classes including one graduate student. Some may be getting the opportunity early or late in their college careers, but learning how to come together to put on a sporting event is the underlying theme that unites them all. What better way to get a crash course…


Family values at the heart of star sport broadcaster Jay Crawford’s life

By DAVID DUPONT BG Independent News The first image Jay Crawford flashed on the student union ballroom screen Tuesday night was one of him on his graduation day in 1987. Here he was in all his 22-year-old finery, gold necklace visible because his shirt collar was unbuttoned, and long locks hanging underneath his mortar board. The image was a fitting introuction to his talk “You Can Get There from Here,” in which he talked about his journey from Bowling Green State University to a tiny TV station in Hazard, Kentucky, and over 30 years all the way to ESPN’s flagship show SportsCenter.  That “really groovy picture of me,” he said, caught him on the first step of his journey. In the talk the Sandusky native offered advice and encouragement to students about how to pursue a career. That photo also introduced an important undercurrent to Crawford’s success story. He was flanked by his parents. “The people on left and right had an undying faith and belief in me,” he said. They worked hard to put him through college debt-free. “It was my job to never let them down,” Crawford said.  “I want my parents to be proud of me. I want them to understand I appreciate the sacrifices they made for me.” Crawford is spending this academic year as an executive in residence in the School of Media and Communications. In April as part of a cost cutting move, ESPN bought out his contract. The terms of his separation agreement with ESPN will keep him from taking another media job until late 2019. This period is his “practice retirement,” he said. Introducing Crawford, Tariel Turner, an undergraduate student, said has been impressed by Crawford’s “ability to listen, and not just listen, to understand and to affirm.” The qualities that allowed him to ascend through sports broadcasting are rooted in the qualities he learned from his family, particularly grit and work ethic. “Work ethic is a choice,” he said. “If you choose to be the first in and the last out and work harder than all…


WBGU-TV to broadcast BGSU hockey game live, Dec. 1

From WBGU-TV For the first time in nearly 40 years, WBGU-TV will air a live broadcast of a Bowling Green State University hockey game. The game will be a match-up of long-time rivals BGSU and Bemidji State. It will air at 7:30 p.m., Friday, Dec. 1. Viewers should check their television listing for specific channel number. The game will be a true local production with BGSU students producing the promotional videos, operating the cameras, and running the video board under the direction of WBGU-TV staff. “This is an excellent opportunity for our students to have real-life and real-time experience working as part of the crew on a live hockey broadcast,” said WBGU-TV General Manager Tony Short. “This type of experience goes a long way once students graduate and begin seeking employment in the media communications field.” The game also brings a new option to WBGU-TV viewers as the station revisits sports programming. “We’re hoping those who follow hockey, or even those who have never seen a game, will tune-in to see how the BGSU Falcons perform,” WBGU-TV Co-General Manager Tina Simon said. “Airing sports, let alone, a live game, is something very different for us and we hope the viewers will enjoy it. BGSU has a great hockey team and it should be an exciting game.” Local businesses are encouraged to support the broadcast and various sponsorship packages are available. To learn more, call Doug Cameron at WBGU-TV at 419-372- 7128 or visit wbgu.org/hockey. Individuals also can support the broadcast by visiting wbgu.org/hockey. Plans are to air a second live hockey broadcast Friday, Feb. 2 at 7:30 p.m. when BGSU takes on Michigan Tech. WBGU-TV 27 is a PBS affiliate and partner of Bowling Green State University serving a 19-county region with award-winning programming and educational resources. For more information, visit www.wbgu.org.


Janet Parks is passionate about sharing the story of BGSU’s women athletes

By DAVID DUPONT BG Independent News Janet Parks wrote the book on women’s athletics at Bowling Green State University. She authored “Forward Falcons: Women’s Sports at Bowling Green State University, 1914-1982” with Ann Bowers and Adelia Hostetler Muti with design by Jennifer Joseph, in 2010, some six years after she retired after 39 years of teaching in the School of Human Movement, Sport and Leisure Studies. During that time she was a central figure in developing the sports management program. “Forward Falcons” wasn’t the end of it. Parks remains passionate about telling the tale of BGSU’s female athletes. Last week she spoke about the development of the Janet Parks Sports History Initiative in the Center for Archival Collections at Jerome Library. The goal of the initiative, Dean Sara Bushong said, is to document women’s sports at BGSU and in Northwest Ohio, including the legislation and rules the governed and influenced it. It’s a story of champions, Parks said. A newly installed photo display on the second floor of Eppler, celebrates those champions. But to have champions, one must have a governing body to sanction them, and that didn’t exist for women’s intercollegiate athletics until 1971 when the Association for Intercollegiate Athletics for Women was founded. The AIAW was the culmination of various bodies that fostered women’s sports since 1899 – seven years before the precursor of the NCAA was founded. “From the beginning it was maintained by women’s physical education teachers,” Parks said. “These women saw athletic competition as an educational experience that was open to all women who wanted to participate.” When the organization that became the NCAA was formed, it had no interest in women’s sports. “That was fine with women,” she said. They wanted governing bodies run for and by women. And that’s what they had for most of the 20th century. Some believe, she said, that there were no sports before women until recently. But in 1971, BGSU had 14 teams in a variety of sports. What those teams didn’t have was a chance to compete for state, regional or national…


BGSU teams rank 10th in the nation for graduation rate

From BGSU OFFICE OF MARKETING & COMMUNICATIONS Bowling Green State University ranks 10th in Division I athletic programs in the nation in Graduation Success Rate (GSR), according to the NCAA. BGSU is in some good company as it ranks behind Notre Dame University (98), Duke University (97), Northwestern University (97), Stanford University (97), Vanderbilt University (96), Boston College (95), University of Central Florida (94), Wake Forest University (94), University of South Carolina (93), and is tied with the University of Minnesota (92). “We are so pleased with our standing, both among MAC and national Division I programs,” said BGSU President Mary Ellen Mazey. “Our student-athletes have a strong history of academic success and continue to be leaders in the areas of scholarship, athletic talent, leadership and service.” “We are so pleased with our standing, both among MAC and national Division I programs,” The University’s 92 percent GSR was the highest among all MAC schools, up 3 percent over 2016’s results. Fifteen of BGSU’s 18 varsity intercollegiate athletics teams had a GSR that ranked among the top half of the league in their respective sport. Ten of Bowling Green’s teams have a perfect 100 percent GSR. Another two teams are at least 90 percent. BGSU’s men’s basketball, men’s cross country, hockey, women’s basketball, women’s golf, gymnastics, women’s soccer, swim/dive, tennis and volleyball teams all ranked with a perfect graduation success rate, while softball (94 percent) and baseball (90 percent) posted exemplary marks.