Name: Ryan Frain
Year of Scecina Graduation: 2012
College/University: University of Illinois
College Athletics: Started all 12 games for the Illini this past season, punting 70 times with an average of 40.2 yards per punt to finish seventh out of 14 kickers in the Big Ten
By Beth Murphy
Ryan Frain’s story takes him from the fields of youth soccer to Scecina’s football team and onto the University of Illinois. He is a punter and field goal holder for Illinois’ football team and also a full-time student majoring in kinesiology and minoring in communications.
As a Crusader athlete, he learned the lessons of hard work and dedication needed to compete. As a Scecina student, he experienced the academic challenges and successes that allowed him to enter a Big Ten university and reach for his goals.
This past season for the Illini, Ryan, who first kicked footballs as a Scecina student, started all 12 games, punting 70 times with an average of 40.2 yards per punt to finish seventh out of 14 kickers in the Big Ten. When he returned to Indiana in November to play against Purdue, he averaged 58 yards per punt on three punts and broke the school record for single-game average, which had been 54.3. He says that game wasn’t the highlight of his season, though, because he did much more for his team in other games, including kicking his longest punt, 73 yards, against the Ohio State Buckeyes.
Ryan graduates in May but still has a year of football eligibility remaining. He looks back fondly on his days at Scecina, which he says played “a huge role” in his life. While he was a freshman, he asked Scecina’s kicker at the time, Marty Waddick, if he could give it a try. That simple request has changed the course of his life. Coach Ott Hurrle let Ryan join the team during the last week of camp. “There I was, some dorky little freshman soccer player who hadn’t even had one day of classes at Scecina,” Ryan remembers. The coach let him dress for the first game of the season when, Ryan says, “I didn’t even know I was supposed to put my pads in my pants before I put them on.”
“My main influence while at Scecina was, without question, Coach Hurrle,” he says. “However, I came across many amazingly influential people during those four years.”
Coach Hurrle, he says, taught him about accountability, responsibility, team work, faith, dedication and dealing with adversity “in a way that no one else ever has or ever will, besides my parents (Nick and Barbara Frain).” Scecina’s president, Joe Therber, is “another example of a faculty member who I learned so much from and who influenced me to ‘give that little extra,’ " Ryan says.
His younger brother Luke ’15 is in his second semester at Western Kentucky playing football “and he is a a lot smarter,” Ryan says modestly.
After graduation, Ryan plans to pursue professional football. “If that doesn’t pan out,” he says, “I plan on applying to the Indianapolis Fire Department to become a firefighter. But I am very flexible about a career after my time here at the University of Illinois. For now I’m focusing on being the best student-athlete I can be leading into my final season.”