Dr. James Frank was the first black President of the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA). Dr. Frank is also the former Southwestern Athletic Conference Commissioner. He began his educational career when he was awarded a four-year basketball scholarship to Lincoln University in Missouri, eventually becoming captain of the basketball team.

After graduation, Dr. Frank served two years as a first lieutenant in the Army Corp of Engineers before earning a master’s in education from Springfield College in Massachusetts. In the early 1970’s, Dr. Frank served as Dean of Students and Vice President for Academic Affairs at Medgar Evers College in Brooklyn, New York.

He later served as assistant basketball coach at Lincoln University before being named head coach and ultimately the college’s President. He was the first black alumnus of Lincoln University in Missouri to become President of the college.

Due to Dr. Frank’s efforts, the NCAA became more inclusive of women’s sports. Dr. Frank first served as secretary-treasurer before taking the office of the President. He believed during his tenure that “’separate but equal’ does not lead to equality.”

He led the NCAA Planning Committee that eventually led to a demographic change in Association leadership. Dr. Frank was named one of the NCAA’s 100 Most Influential Student-Athletes and in 2007, he won the NCAA’s prestigious Gerald R. Ford Award as well.

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3 thoughts on “Little Known Black History Fact: Dr. James Frank

  1. Dr. T on said:

    I love Dr. James Frank!! Thanks Tom for recognizing Dr. Frank. He is truly an amazing man who believes in education. His wife Dr. Zelma Frank is just as awesome as well. I love them both. They are great mentors who I met while living in New Orleans.

  2. daphney Frank on said:

    This information is rarely known, and rarely discussed. This is my uncle and for a long time, I have been trying to get him national recognition. Thanks Tom Joyner “Black America Web” for posting this news. Our family comes from a legacy of great athletes from Aliquippa, PA. Tony Dorsett, Joe Namath, Sean Gilbert, Sean Gilbert, Mike Ditka, and Darrelle Revis. Thank you so much..Now waiting on Essence..NCAAP Image or BET. or a major TV Network..CBS, ESPN, or a documentary. Im proud of you uncle..

    your niece, Daphney

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