Football: Iconic coach Gino Fracas dead at 79

You know someone was an institution when he had two awards (at least) named after him.

Those with Windsor ties can better speak of Gino Fracas (1930-2009), who in many ways is a father of the Lancers football program. You can sort of track the development of the university game in southwestern Ontario through him. He grew up in the city, starred at Western in the Old Four days and had an eight-year CFL career with the Edmonton Eskimos before eventually returning to preside over hometown school's move into then-OUAA. Fracas, whose death was apparently announced tonight at a Windsor Spitfires hockey game, coached the football Lancers for 21 seasons, a span that included their lone shared Yates Cup in 1975.

Fracas' bio doesn't note that he was part of the development of the modern Vanier Cup. He was the coach at Alberta in 1963 when the Golden Bears challenged Queen's, then at its peak under Frank Tindall. Alberta won that game, 25-7, and it proved to be a catalytic event that led to the development of a true national championship. (That defeat stuck with the Queen's players of that era to such an extent that in 1998, Alberta and Queen's held a rare non-conference exhibition game to mark the 35th anniversary.)

CIS honours an outstanding volunteer assistant football coach each year with the Gino Fracas Award, while the University of Windsor's own coach of the year award also bears his name. That would speak to the regard the sports community had for the man.

Please don't be shy about building on the effort to recognize one of the greats.

(Special thanks to Big Blue at
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  1. So proud and honoured to call Coach Fracas and Family our friends. We love you all and will keep the Coach in our hearts forever.
    Van & Karen

  2. I had the pleasure of knowing Coach Fracas during my playing days at Windsor.

    He was extremely passionate about football, and life.

    He was a great human being with a great soul.


  3. An amazing man!
    Gino was the type of person that players would go through brick walls to achieve results. He was a great teacher, coach, and friend. Good-bye Gino-I will never forget you.
    Brian H.(U of A Wrestler)