Former Illini Gymnast Frank Bare Passes Away at 80
March 4, 2011
CHAMPAIGN, Ill. - Former Illinois men's gymnastics standout Frank Bare passed away from pneumonia on Feb. 25 at the age of 80. After a successful collegiate career at the University of Illinois, Bare went on to become a prominent figure in the gymnastics world and served as the first executive director for the U.S. Gymnastics Federation, which is known today as USA Gymnastics.
Founded in 1963, the U.S. Gymnastics Federation was the foundation for USA Gymnastics and became the national governing body for the sport. According to a USA Gymnastics press release, Bare was "recognized as a visionary and galvanized athletes, coaches, judges and other members of the gymnastics community to band together to build the sport in this country. In just seven years, Bare's efforts paid off when the USGF was recognized by the International Gymnastics Federation in 1970."
In 1999, Bare was inducted into the International Gymnastics Hall of Fame, exemplifying the category of Lifetime Achievement for his leadership, innovation, contribution and vision to gymnastics.
As a student-athlete at Illinois from 1952-54 under former head coach Charlie Pond, Bare, a four-time All-American, won an NCAA title on pommel horse in 1952. He also won a pair of Big Ten titles on the event in 1952 and 1954, in addition to third-place finishes in the all-around during those years as well.
For more information including tributes to Bare, click HERE.