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Darrell Frank | BPHE, B.Ed.

Alumni Spotlight


Darrell Frank next to Ayla on her graduation dayDarrell Frank, an avid cross-country skier and Laurentian alumnus, was an accomplished athlete long before his university studies began. He had participated in and won many provincial championships as a high school athlete. Darrell knew that he wanted to pursue a degree related to physical education to further pursue his passion for the sport. At the time, Laurentian University was looking to create a cross-country ski team, and a friend (Lorne Luhta, B.Sc. ‘68, M.Sc. ‘74) recommended that he apply to Laurentian University and join the team.

Darrell was a 3-time Ontario University Athletics (OUA) and one-time OIAA cross-country skiing champion. He continued to ski throughout his university years. In his 4th year, Darrell was named athlete of the year at Laurentian, and represented Canada at the World International University Sports Federation (FISU) Universiade in Lake Placid, NY, in 1972. Darrell was also bronze medalist at the 1974 Canada Winter Games in Pincher Creek, AB with team Ontario.  

Darrell graduated with a Bachelor of Physical Health and Education (BPHE) from Laurentian University. He studied here from 1969-1972. In 1973, after graduating from Laurentian, he attended Teachers College at Nipissing University, in North Bay.

Darrell’s time spent at Laurentian helped grow his love for skiing and coaching. Professor Ron Wallingford was a positive influence for Darrell as a student at Laurentian. “Ron Wallingford helped mold who I was as an athlete,” says Darrell. After completing his B.Ed., Darrell signed up for a one-year coaching assignment in the Northwest Territories. He spent a week at a time in settlements between Hay River and Tuktoyaktuk, where he worked with indigenous communities as a ski coach. In 1977, Darrell coached Canada’s junior national ski team at the World Junior Championships in St. Croix Switzerland. In 1978, he was named National Coach of the women’s national team. He moved to Banff in 1978 to coach the women’s national team and to join the larger cross-country skiing community, as many skiers resided there at the time. In his capacity as National Coach, Darrell attended numerous World Cup Races and two World Cross Country Ski Championships.

Darrell also coached in Cable, Wisconsin at the Telemark Ski Academy in 1980, and was the Newfoundland and Labrador coach for the Canada winter games in 1982. He was a technical delegate to the World Cup Races in 1983 and 1985 in Labrador City, NL.

While coaching in Banff, a good friend of Darrell’s and a mining engineer, Karl Krats, recommended looking at Labrador City, NL, as a potential training site for Darrell’s ski team. The area was an ideal place to train due to its wintery climate and low altitude. Darrell agreed that Labrador City would be a great fit and brought his team there to train.  

While in Labrador City, Darrell realized he didn’t want to live out of a suitcase his whole life and found work with the Iron Ore Company of Canada (IOCC). He soon met his wife (Ellen), also an avid cross country skier. Darrell and Ellen had three children (Adam, Andrew, and Ayla), and spent 32 years living in Labrador.

While working, Darrell continued to ski and coach. He volunteered with the Menihek Nordic Ski Club in Labrador City for many years and coached teams participating in World Cups, Fall Camps, and Shell Cup races. Darrell also helped organize and run the Canadian National Masters Championships, and NL Provincial Winter Games.

Now retired, Darrell spends much of his time with family, at his cottage at Onaping Lake, or travelling. His eldest son Adam works as a Mechanical Engineer in Fernie, BC; his second son, Andrew, is an accountant in Toronto; and his daughter, Ayla, is a recent graduate (B.Sc.) of Laurentian University.