Alumni profile: Bill Frank

JUDY OWEN -- Sun Media

, Last Updated: 10:44 AM ET

During the football season, Bill Frank's family knew they had to tread lightly around him.

From Wednesday to game day on Saturday, the former Winnipeg Blue Bombers offensive tackle would start mentally preparing himself for battle in the trenches.

"My personality changed quite a bit," the father of two recalls from his home in White Rock, B.C.

"I was short-tempered, kind of anxious."

Frank was considered the leader of the team's offensive line from 1970-76, and got the nickname Head Hog from his linemate Bob Swift.

He recalls his intensity surfacing during one game when the quarterback -- he can't remember which one -- called the wrong play. The QB got sacked and they lost yardage.

"I got excited," Frank says. "I told him he was full of beans."

Frank played during an era when the team was trying to rebuild after its success in the early 1960s - the Bombers won the Grey Cup in 1961 and '62 and lost in '65.

Jim Spavital became the team's head coach in 1970, the first year Frank was a regular starter (he played two or three games in 1969).

The squad only managed a 2-14 record in 1970, and only had two winning seasons before Frank retired after the '76 season (10-6 records in '72 and '76).

"One of my biggest regrets is we didn't play in the Grey Cup," he says.

While he was with the Bombers, Frank began a career in auto sales. He moved to Alberta after his retirement and sold autos and recreational vehicles.

He later made his home in B.C. -- where he had started his CFL career in 1962 with the Lions -- and played in the '63 Grey Cup (a loss to Hamilton). He also played four games with the NFL Dallas Cowboys in '64.

He rose to a management position in auto sales and maintained that career until his retirement in 2004. Like many football players, the game took its toll on Frank's health. He's had problems with his shoulders, arms, hands and legs and spent three years going in and out of the hospital for a hip replacement and then surgery for a brain aneurysm.

"I'm doing fine," he says, adding he enjoys golfing and hunting for pheasant, chicken and partridge.

"I enjoyed (playing football) very much and I have no regrets."

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FRANK FILE

Position: Offensive tackle

DOB: April 13, 1938

Birthplace: Denver, Colo.

CFL career: B.C. Lions (1962-63); Toronto Argonauts (1965-68); Winnipeg Blue Bombers (1970-76)

Career highlights: Grey Cup runner-up in 1963; seven-time CFL all-star; inducted into Blue Bombers Hall of Fame in 1990; inducted into CFL Hall of Fame in 2001.

What did your football career mean to you?

"It was an important part of my life because it gave me the strength to keep going and to do things, and gave me the opportunity to meet different people."


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