Fralick says there’s no place like BG


After leading the Bowling Green State University womens basketball team to a 31-7 season and an appearance in the WNIT Fab Four, coach Robyn Fralick is suddenly in the spotlight.

The Detroit News mentioned Fralick, an Okemos, Michigan native, and University of Toledo coach Tricia Cullop as “candidates to watch” for the recently vacated Michigan State job.

Fralick addressed the report after the Falcons’ 77-70 loss to Columbia in front of a sold-out crowd of 4,155 at the Stroh Center in a WNIT semifinal Thursday by effectively saying that “there is no place like Bowling Green.”

BOWLING GREEN, OH – MARCH 29: Bowling Green Falcons head coach Robyn Fralick watches the action on the court during the fourth quarter of a WNIT semifinal game against Columbia on March 29, 2023 at the Stroh Center in Bowling Green, Ohio. Columbia defeated Bowling Green 77-70. (Photo by Scott Grau/Sentinel-Tribune)

“We love it here. My kids have grown up here as a family,” Fralick said. “The community, the girls — we absolutely love it here. The news always has a lot to run around — the internet.”

Fralick said a lot of time has gone into rebuilding the program to where it is now.

“When we came here five years ago, I remember the first two years, people would find me with my head just laying on my desk, kind of like, ‘Oh, my gosh, I’m trying to figure this out, right?’

“Day by day, step by step, you search for a way, and then all of a sudden, I walk out today, and my eyes are all teared up when our girls are getting announced because I’m like, ‘You build it, they will come.’ We built it and we got to experience that.”

Fralick said the Detroit News or anyone else can make any statements they want, but insisted that for now they are just rumors.

“It’s interesting that any time you have success there are all these rumors, right? And anytime you’re bad there are all these rumors,” Fralick said. “Anytime you are average there are all these rumors.

“We love it here. We love the community, we love the university, we love the team and it’s a great place to raise a family.”

Fralick said even her daughter Clara has gotten attached to the program, and to the community.

“My daughter, she is 6 years old, and she talks about the girls all the time like they are her best pals. She wants to know all about them. Now, I’m hearing that from amongst the whole community,” Fralick said.

“I’m hearing that from adults. I came home Monday night and there are balloons on my front mailbox. Today, there is a ‘Beat Columbia’ sign on my front yard, right?

“It’s fun to be part of something, right, and it’s fun to watch something where it matters. That connection has been incredible, and we are really grateful for it, and we are excited for it to continue to grow.”

Fralick said it is not just her immediate family that has become a part of Bowling Green.

“I have a niece and nephew who are here, and my nephew is actually on our scout team and my niece is a freshman and they were at our house at 4 today ready for the game with their shirts (BGSU gear) on,” Fralick said.

“That’s what student-athletes should like, just being part of something, and we all got to do that during this (WNIT) run.”

Fralick noticed that the momentum from the Falcons’ tournament run resonated throughout BGSU’s athletic programs. The football team took an entire seating section during the Falcons’ 69-52 Great Eight victory over Florida, and they weren’t the only BGSU athletes to make an appearance.

“On Monday, we are playing Florida at home and our head football coach and head volleyball coach are getting warned for their cowbell,” Fralick said. “I’m like so proud of them. I don’t want them to get a technical, but it is so cool.

“The connection with the student-athletes, the connection with the community, and Derek (van der Merwe), our new athletic director, he’s been instrumental in just the spirit of bringing people together. How fun is that?”

Fralick is counting on this year’s success continuing into next year.

“I’m really excited about the momentum of this team and this program. I think people fall in love with something they feel connected to,” Fralick said.

“And, when you watch our team, they play with teammates, they play hard, they play together, and that is really alluring. I’m excited for the fans to keep coming back.”

She’s made that message clear to her team, too.

“Today, I shared with the team, ‘We are one of eight womens basketball teams still playing. Eight in the whole country.’

“To do that you have this incredible endurance, incredible consistency, you have to love to play and our kids have done all those things.

“Tonight, we fell a little short to a good team, but my goodness, it wasn’t because of effort. My goodness, it wasn’t because our fans weren’t trying to will us to win, too.”

Fralick said this year’s team earned its 31 wins, which tied a program and Mid-American Conference record.

“They are really fun. We had practice 98 yesterday,” Fralick said. “Think of that — 98 practices together and we’re still laughing. They are still such a joy in the gym.

“You have to have fun if you are going to play 38 games. I think joy is such a connector and toughness, too. So, those are the things that stand out. I think it is a team that has a great joy to it and we’re tough.

“It’s who we are. I would say some of the things that we won this year it was literally just on toughness. That’s a great formula for success. We’ve got kids who are committed to every possession.”

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