Frank, John : Jews In Sports @ Virtual Museum

Frank, John

John E. Frank

After a stellar career at Ohio State, where he won All-Big Ten honors, Frank played in the NFL for the San Francisco 49ers and helped them win two Super Bowls in the 1980s. His best friend on the team and roommate on the road was fellow Jewish standout Harris Barton. Frank, who was a Rhodes Scholar nominee his senior year and a three time Academic All-America, retired following the 1988 season, returned to Ohio State, and received his doctor of medicine degree in 1992. He is currently a doctor in Chicago.

Birth and Death Dates:
April 17, 1962-

Career Highlights:
Although his father, who played for the U.S. basketball team in the 1957 Maccabiah Games, wanted him to play basketball, John felt his physical attributes were better suited to football. Frank played four seasons at Ohio State as a tight end, starting his final three years. In 1981, he caught 45 passes for 449 yards as the Buckeyes finished the season with a record of 9-3 and won a share of the Big Ten title.

The following year, John was named All-Big Ten as Ohio State finished the year 9-3 and went to the Holiday Bowl. In 1983, Frank was elected offensive co-captain, as well as the team's MVP and Most Inspirational Player, and he repeated as All-Big Ten. That season, he led the team with 45 receptions for 641 yards, and his ten catches against Michigan is fourth all-time in the Ohio State single game record book. The Buckeyes finished the season 9-3 and Frank had four catches for 57 yards in a 28-23 Fiesta Bowl victory over Pittsburgh.

Frank finished his college career as the all-time leader among tight ends in Ohio State history with 121 career receptions, and sixth all-time among receivers with 1,418 yards! The Buckeyes finished in the top fifteen in the polls all fours years of Frank's career.

Following his stellar career at Ohio State, Frank went on to play in the NFL. In 1984, he was selected by the San Francisco 49ers in the second round (56th overall) of the NFL Draft. That year, John scored a touchdown on his first career NFL reception (against the New York Giants) on Monday Night Football. The 49ers won the Super Bowl that year, defeating the Miami Dolphins 38-16. John was injured in the NFC Championship Game and did not play in the Super Bowl.

In 1987, Frank had his best season with the 49ers, with 26 receptions for 296 yards and three touchdowns. The following year, he proved his value to the 49ers when he missed half the season with a hand injury and had just 19 receptions. During the season, the 49ers were 2-6 without Frank and 9-1 with him. In the Super Bowl, they defeated the Cincinnati Bengals, and Frank had two catches for 15 yards in the game. He retired following the 1988 season after playing in 66 career NFL games. In 1998, John was inducted into the Ohio State Athletic Hall of Fame.

Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

Career Dates:
Frank played tight end at Ohio State University from 1980-1983. He then played tight end in the NFL for the San Francisco 49ers from 1984-1988.

Physical description:
6'3", 225 pounds

Career Statistics:
In the NFL:
Games: 66

Receptions: 65
Receiving yards: 662
Receiving average: 10.2
Receiving touchdowns: 10
Fumbles: 2

Rushes: 2
Rushing yards: -1
Rushing average: -0.5

Kick returns: 3
Kick return yards: 25
Kick return average: 8.3

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Total Football: The Official Encyclopedia of the National Football League, edited by Bob Carroll, Michael Gershman, David Neft, and John Thorn (New York: HarperCollins Publishers, 1999)