Frank F. Sabasteanski of the Class of 1941, one of the most accomplished and admired coaches in Bowdoin’s history, is considered the “dean” of the Athletic Hall of Honor, having coached eight inductees. This year, he is appropriately inducted into the Hall of Honor in his own right, for his own achievements and contributions to Bowdoin’s athletics program and to the world of sport.
A standout athlete in both football and track, “Sabe” was twice named to the All-Maine Football Team. Sabe outshined these accomplishments as head coach of Bowdoin’s track team, however, leading the team to state outdoor titles and undefeated seasons twice, in 1974 and 1975. Sabe coached seven All Americans, two of whom—Bill McWilliams ’57 and Alex Schulten ’66—won national championships in the hammer throw.
Sabe’s influence was felt far beyond Bowdoin, however. In addition to his nearly four decades as a coach of track and field at Bowdoin, he served as president of the Amateur Athletic Union; coach of the Ghanian Olympic Track Team; a co-director of the US Olympic Team summer training camp; assistant coach of the US team for the Pan American Games; and member of the US Olympic Men’s Track and Field Committee. Sabe also served as president of the Eastern Intercollegiate Athletic Association and the New England Track Coaches Association, and he coached American athletes in their preparations for competing in the Olympic Games in Mexico City in 1968.
Citing Sabe’s “positive influence” on him, one of Sabe’s former student athletes called him “more than a coach on the track. He was a mentor.” Sabe was “exacting and demanding” but also “motivational” and “supportive.” He was a truly exceptional coach who reached and inspired athletes, and represented the best of Bowdoin to the world at large. In 1975, Sabe and his wife Barbara fittingly won the Bowdoin Alumni Council Award for Faculty and Staff.