By the time tri-sport athlete Patrick Frank had graduated from Fox Chapel Area High School in 1998, he had earned eight total varsity letters in baseball, cross country, and wrestling. At one point, he even held the high school wrestling record for most career wins.
Little did he know then that the success he had experienced as a teenager on the field, track, and mat eventually would parlay into new achievements and high praise in high school and college sports, particularly in wrestling.
A change in plans
Patrick had thought about continuing his wrestling career after high school. Syracuse University was his first choice for college, but they discontinued the program right before he graduated. He decided to go anyway and concentrated on his getting his degree in political science and journalism.
After graduation, he worked in upstate New York as a television news anchor and reporter, and it was during that time that Patrick decided to return to athletics, only this time on the flip side as an official. It was definitely a departure from his family’s legacy in coaching since his father and brothers Tim and Michael are all successful well-known coaches at Fox Chapel Area High School.
After Patrick moved back to the Pittsburgh area 2007 and started working as a fourth-grade teacher in the North Allegheny School District, he eventually added football and baseball to his officiating repertoire. For the past six years, Patrick has also officiated at NCAA wrestling events at Division I, II, and III colleges.
“I think wrestling at any level is the most difficult sport to officiate because it calls for interpretations as to who is in control,” Patrick acknowledges.
Even so, the sport is his favorite and has led to many opportunities. He says, “In the past, I’ve officiated at the EWL [Eastern Wrestling League], which is a qualifying tournament for the NCAA Division I Championships, and I’ve also officiated at the Division III-qualifying tournament the last three seasons.
His reputation for integrity and expertise led to one of his proudest moments so far as an official – he was one of only 12 people invited to officiate at the NCAA Division III National Wrestling Championships that were recently held in LaCrosse, WI.
“It was a great experience,” Patrick says of the event that included 10 weight classes and 180 athletes from across the country. “The quality of the officials and wrestlers was really good and I was very honored to be a part of it. Besides that, I think what struck me the most throughout the entire tournament was how great the sportsmanship was.”
Fond memories of Foxes’ sports
But even this latest experience, as great as it was, doesn’t dull his many memories of playing sports at Fox Chapel Area High School and the many friends he made through athletics.
“We had good athletes who were excellent students too, and we just had the best time competing together,” recalls Patrick, who now resides in Aspinwall with his wife Kerry and children Linley, PJ, and Mickey. “My heart has always been with Fox Chapel Area athletics and the many friends I made. To this day, I’m still in contact with some of them.”
He might have the chance to see many more of those friends who have remained in the area as he umpires for area interscholastic baseball and summer leagues — only this time those former schoolmates will be cheering on their own children.