NAME: Gino Fracas
SPORTS: Wrestling, football
YEARS ACTIVE: 1960-1968
Led Alberta Golden Bears football team to five Hardy Cups (1963
Coached Alberta wrestling team to two WCIAA championships
Coached Windsor football team to two CCIFC/OUAA championships
Grey Cup champion as a player with the Edmonton Eskimos in 1955 and 1956
One of the outstanding builders of the University of Alberta’s athletic program, Gino Fracas left his mark on the Golden Bears in both wrestling and football.
The Windsor, Ont., native joined the university’s Faculty of Physical Education in 1960 to build the intramural program and coach the Golden Bears wrestling team, which he guided to a pair of Western Canadian Intercollegiate Athletic Association (WCIAA) championships.
Fracas was named head coach of Golden Bears football in 1963 and led the team to three straight Hardy Cup championships. Alberta defeated Queens in the 1963 Golden Bowl – an unofficial national championship game - and competed in the inaugural Vanier Cup in 1965, losing to Toronto 14-7.
In 1968, Fracas returned to his hometown of Windsor to become the first head coach of the University of Windsor Lancer football program. He led the Lancers to the CCIFC championship in 1969, an OUAA Championship in 1975 and he was the OUAA coach of the year in both 1976 and 1977. He served as a professor in Windsor’s Faculty of Human Kinetics for 28 years before retiring in 1995.
Fracas remained involved with wrestling as a drawmaster, receiving a Fédération Internationale des Luttes Associées (FILA) medal and certificate of honour for his contributions to that sport at the 1976 Montreal Olympics.
As a football player, Fracas had a successful career at the University of Western Ontario winning two Yates Cup championships. He went on to play several seasons in the CFL with the Edmonton Eskimos, and a was a member of their 1954 and 1955 Grey Cup championship-winning teams.
In 1987, Fracas received the Football Canada/CFL Award of Merit for outstanding lifetime contribution to football in Canada. He has previously been inducted into six different halls of fame, including the University of Alberta Sports Wall of Fame. HIs legacy lives on annually, as the U SPORTS football volunteer coach of the year award is named in his honour.
Fracas passed away in 2009 at age 79.