BOULDER - Former University of Colorado basketball star Pat Frink, who left an indelible mark on the Buffalo program in the mid-1960s, died Sunday morning (May 6) in a one-vehicle crash near his ranch in Tucson. He was 67.
He was driving a gray 2007 Ford F-150 truck south on Hayhook Ranch Road, a mile south of Arizona Highway 86, when he lost control of the vehicle, which rolled and threw him from the driver's seat.
Frink was the first player to lead the Buffaloes in scoring in three different seasons, averaging 15.0 points during the 1964-65 campaign as a sophomore. After sitting out the next season with a knee injury suffered just weeks before the first game, he came back and led the team as a junior with an 18.3 mark and then again as a senior with 18.9.
Only five players have led the Buffs three times since, Cliff Meely, Emmett Lewis and Shaun Vandiver, followed by the only pair to do it four times, Donnie Boyce and most recently Richard Roby. Frink was just the third sophomore at the time to ever lead Colorado in scoring, following Art Bunte (19.1 in 1952-53) and Wilky Gilmore (13.9 in 1959-60). He earned first-team All-Big 8 honors that year and second-team honors his junior and senior seasons.
His junior year, Colorado finished 17-8, including 10-4 in league play including a huge 62-59 upset of No. 7 Kansas in Boulder. KU won the rematch, 66-59, in Lawrence in the next-to-last game of the season to clinch the conference crown, with CU tying for second with Nebraska.
Frink's 1,288 career points still rank 16th all-time at CU, but were second only to Ken Charlton (1,352 from 1960-63) at the time of his graduation. He went on to play one season in the NBA with the Cincinnati Royals.
An all-state performer at Wheat Ridge High School, he was reunited with his older brother, Mike, at Colorado in 1963; the elder Frink had starred two years at Pueblo Junior College.
"My brother had a heart as big as the world but he did not always see 'how the world posted,' Mike Frink said. "I was always proud of his basketball achievements but I was more proud of him in one very significant manner.
"He was the father of an invalid daughter, Kodi, born with Rett syndrome. The life expectancy is usually seven or eight years, but she lived to be 21. He never once considered an institution for her and chose to care for her 24/7 for 21 years. When she passed in 2000, Pat really lost his 'life's work' and he also lost his sense of purpose from that point on."
Mike Frink noted that Pat was always engaged in something that helped others, such as teaching school on an Indian reservation; running a homeless shelter in Denver for 15 years; and had pastored the home bound and hospitalized elderly Catholic community in Boulder as a layman at Sacred Heart Church for 12 years, among some other things.
"But his daughter was 'EVERYTHING' to him from her birth to her passing," Mike said. "He needed her yesterday when he was driving recklessly. And, I really need him today and forever."
Pat Frink is survived by five children, four sons, Shane, Gant, Garrett and Dylan and one daughter, Shalom (a registered nurse in Broomfield), and eight grandchildren. Services were held in Tucson on May 14; a video of the memorial can be found here: http://vimeo.com/42306030.