Following in the path of greatness

James Fracas has football in his blood.

Photo by Heather Davidson
Photo by Heather Davidson

James Fracas has football in his blood.

The Wilfrid Laurier University Golden Hawks’ late grandfather, Gino Fracas, played in the Canadian Football League where he won two Grey Cups in 1955 and 1956 with the Edmonton Eskimos.

Gino later became a renowned Ontario University Athletics coach with the Windsor Lancers from 1968 to 1986 where he won two titles.

In 2011 he was inducted into the Canadian Football Hall of Fame.

Fracas discussed the influence his grandfather had in mentoring his football career in its earliest stages.

“We would sit down for hours on end and talk about strategy and anything football related,” said Fracas. “The passion was so strong for both him and my father. I couldn’t really help but have that same passion rub off onto me from a young age.”

His father, Paul Fracas, played for the Windsor Lancers as a tight end in the early 1980s, with Gino as his head coach.

James’ grandfather passed away in October 2009. His family was honoured when Laurier took on Windsor on Sept. 6.

According to James, honouring his grandfather was particularly special because he never got to see his grandfather coach or play. He said the experience was humbling as he felt the true weight of Gino’s accomplishments.

“It was nice to see my grandfather’s memory honoured,” said Fracas.

“What made it even more special was that my dad was given the honour to present my grandfather’s award to the players. It was really nice to see how much of an impact he had in the game.”

Fracas’ grandfather was drafted by the Ottawa Rough Riders in 1954, after winning two Yates Cups with Western University in 1952 and 1953. He played the majority of his CFL career for Edmonton.

In his first two years playing for the Eskimos he won two championships and was later named captain.

Prior to founding and coaching the Lancers, he coached the Alberta Golden Bears from 1963 to 1967 and guided the team to the National and Conference Championships.

James Fracas recently spent a week in training camp for the Hamilton Tiger Cats this summer, improving his skill and confidence on the field. He went on to explain his confidence in the entire team moving into this season.

“As a team, we are even more confident than ever,” Fracas explained. “We know we have got a special team. We’ve got the athletes that can really put a good product out on the field and it’s really great to see us all come together and do what needs to be done.”

Photo by Andreas Patsiaouros
Photo by Andreas Patsiaouros

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