bob_fralaAn all-around athlete in high school, one of the inductees into the Salem Sports Hall of Fame in 1987 continued to gain prominence and honors in the sports world on the coaching level. A 1949 SCHS graduate, Bob Frala was a three sports star in his high school years.

In tandem with Jim Bredar, as the “Gold Dust Twins”, Frala started on a road to successful ventures in the sports world in football, basketball and track as a member of Wildcat athletic teams.

After graduation, he attended the University of Illinois, concentrating on the coaching aspects of sports. While at Illinois, Illini Coach Ray Eliot said that “Bob Frala has one of the most comprehensive notebooks on football I have received from all of my classes.”

In high school, Frala was a halfback for the Wildcats, netting 5 yards per carry his senior year on a team that was 5-5 overall and 4-2 in North Egypt Conference play. He also completed 18 of 24 passes for 526 yards. In the final two games that were dramatically won on the margin of Jim Bredar’s placements, 13-12 over Lawrenceville and 14-13 over Mt Vernon, Frala touchdowns were prominent in the victories.

In the Lawrenceville win, he scored the second touchdown that set the stage for the winning extra point, and in the Mt. Vernon victory in the finale, he passed to Corky Winn for 31 yards for the first touchdown, and scored the second from seven yards out. In basketball, on a team that lacked anyone much over six feet tall, Frala was a perfect tandem with Bredar and with Bob Hayden, Derrell Brame and Winn.

He was also a consistent performer in track. In his senior year in the NEC meet, he won the 200-yard low hurdle race in :25.6 despite taking a face-first tumble in his qualifying heat, which he won easily, exemplifying his determination.

After graduation from the University of Illinois, he entered the military service. While stationed at Virginia Beach, he coached base teams in football and basketball; both teams won the National All-Army titles. Fellow SCHS teammate Jim Bredar was a member of the championship basketball team.

Frala got his first high school teaching job in Skokie in 1956. He went to Belleville in 1960 as a teacher and coach and his teams won 83% of their games. In 1964, he was named Illinois Coach of the Year and selected as All-State team coach.

He left Belleville in 1967 to join the coaching staff of Dan Devine at the University of Missouri as freshman coach and assistant quarterback coach. He worked with Devine for five years and for two years with Al Onofrio. While at Missouri, he was one of the head recruiters, and as freshman coach they won 85% of their games.

Frala lives in Moberly, Missouri, with his wife, former Salemite Erma Sechrest. They have three children, all grown, Jim, Kathy and Julie. He is the son of the late James C. and Lola Frala, for whom Salem’s little League park “Frala Park” was named. He has two younger brothers, Jim and Don.