In 2017, Robyn Fralick accomplished what most coaches dream by leading Ashland University to the Division II National Championship. Since taking over the program in 2015, Fralick’s impact though has been felt and recognized well-beyond the small town of Ashland, Ohio. The 2016-17 WBCA Division II National Coach of the Year has led Ashland to a 68-2 (.971) overall and 41-1 (.976) GLIAC record, GLIAC Regular Season Championships, two GLIAC Tournament Championships, and two NCAA Tournament berths.
Fralick’s love for the game started early, growing up in Okemos, Michigan. After high school, she went on to play at Davidson College, where she graduated third in program history in total assists. Her enthusiasm would then motivate Fralick to transfer her passion for the game and making a positive impact on others to coaching. “As I got older, I realized coaching is an incredible platform to help players transform both on and off the court, which is very motivating,” said Fralick.
Following graduation, Fralick spent four years as a Division I Assistant Coach, including one season working for one of her mentors, Mark Ehlen, at the University of Toledo. Fralick said, “Mark has a great mind for the game and was amazingly consistent as a person throughout the highs and lows of a season. He taught me about the ability to laugh during the good and the tough.”
In 2008, Fralick arrived at Ashland as an Assistant Coach, where she would work for and learn from legendary Head Coach Sue Ramsey. “Her biggest philosophy was take care of people and take care of details. She was also incredibly positive and enthusiastic, which was contagious,” said Fralick.
After seven seasons of assisting Ramsey, Fralick was offered the chance to take over the Ashland program and she hasn’t looked back, all while balancing being a wife and mother. “My goal is to give my best to both my program and my kids,” Fralick said. “When I’m with my team, I want to be fully there. When I drive home and I pull-up in the driveway, my kids deserve my best.”
What is special about her program’s success is how big of a role her family within her program. Fralick said, “My husband Tim is a volunteer assistant on staff so it’s great that we get to do life together and share family time in the gym. I am also really fortunate that my son Will (4) is in the gym almost everyday with us during practice. He loves basketball, and even more so, loves the girls on the team. My daughter Clara (1) also joins us occasionally in the gym.”
In 2017-18, Fralick and Ashland are working hard to accomplish what no team in Division II women’s basketball has in 15 seasons and that’s winning back-to-back National Championships. They are doing so by executing what she calls “championship behavior” on and off-the court. “We believe that championships are a byproduct of our program living out championship behavior in all areas of our life, not just the basketball court,” said Fralick.
This “championship behavior” has been practiced and proven through five core values Fralick has instilled within her program.
1. Be a great teammate
2. Manners matter
“I think there is a clear distinction between having core values and having them come alive in your program,” Fralick said. “My goal is for these values to be alive by everyone in our program and to live these out at a very high level. These are foundational in who we are going to be.”
What is as impressive as the success Fralick has accomplished at Ashland is how humble she remains and committed to her student-athlete’s development as well-rounded students, athletes, and people.
Written originally for CollegeInsider.com on December 12, 2017.