Biography: WOLCOTT, Frank

WOLCOTT, Frank

Inducted: 1976
Born: Bridgeport, Connecticut

Frank Wolcott has made valuable contributions to gymnastics as an athlete, a coach, and a provider of services to our sport. He has been recognized among the best of the gymnastics coaches by his peers, and has seen gymnastics in the U.S. move through numerous periods of troughs and waves without wavering from his mission of producing the best gymnasts possible for national and international competition.

Getting Started: As a competitor Frank was captain of the Springfield College team and was a two-time New England champion on PH and Flying Rings. Coaching: Mr. Wolcott coached at Springfield College for 26 years, retiring in 1981. During this time Springfield gymnasts placed in the top 4 at the NCAA Nationals 11 times, captured 8 individual national titles and received 62 All American Awards. His teams captured five New England titles, (1970, ‘71, ‘73, ’74 & ’75). In the process, Wolcottt coached gymnasts won 15 individual event championships.  In the Eastern League his teams won crowns in 1967 and 1970 with 8 individual champions.  Honors: Received Honor Coach Award, (1980). The first Honor Coach Award of the C.G.A. was presented in l954. This award is given annually to a member-coach of twenty-five years or more who has gained the admiration of his coaching associates. The award reads as follows: “In recognition of his service in coaching and developing gymnastics for over twenty-five years. He has gained the respect of his associates in the gymnastics world by his inspiring example and accomplishments.” The Honor Coach Award Committee selects the recipient of this award each year by secret ballot. The chairman presents this, the most prestigious of all gymnastics coaches’ awards, at the annual spring meeting. Served as two-time President of the National Association of College Gymnastics Coaches; Selected as a two-time recipient of the NACGC Special Service Award and was named an Honorary Life Member; Named National Coach of The Year when Springfield won the NCAA Div. II National team title, (1977).  He was also named Eastern Coach of The Year, (1965, ‘67, & ’70). He is an Inductee of the Springfield College Sports Hall of Fame.  Military Service: Wolcott served as a Captain in the USMCR, (1952-’54) and was in the Korean War toward the end. He tells the story of how General Chester Puller and his Division were surrounded at the Cosen Reservoir. When asked by the Army general in charge of the operation, he replied, “We’re completely surrounded by the Chinese, and now they can’t get away because our plan is to attack in all directions.” They were immediately ordered to fight their way to the ocean where they could be extracted. At great cost, the Division made it to the coast. Service: Wolcott has served as President of the National Association of College Gymnastics Coaches and leader of the Honor Selection Committee. He also served as a member of the NCAA and Olympic Rules Committees. Wolcott is currently living in Maine in a home originally built 6 years after President George Washington left office, (1795), and he has added rooms in a barn where the cows once stood. It has been adapted to be a place where he keeps all his gymnastics mementos. He need such a room since his favorite pastime is a good round of golf, and there’s plenty of time in Connecticut to wait for sunshine. Family: (m) Sandy Thorndike. Children: Jill, Jeff, Joy, Kim, & Heidi. Grandchildren: Mary, Jack, Lilly, Justin, Jarred, Zoe, & Jade.

Sources: Interviews with Mr. Wolcott plus data courtesy of Jerry Wright, author of Gymnastics Who’s Who, 2005,who also provided photo. Introduction, commentary, and formatting by Dr. Larry Banner, Web Manager.