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Former Boston College player honored with 2017 NCAA Inspiration Award

Pete Frates (Photo courtesy of John Quackenbos/BC Athletics)

BEVERLY, Mass. – The Boston College baseball team joined Pete Frates and his family at Frates’ home in for the presentation of the 2017 NCAA Inspiration Award on Tuesday afternoon. NCAA President Dr. Mark Emmert presented Frates with this year’s award in front of his family, friends, former teammates, the 2017 Eagles baseball team, local politicians, and media members.

“This is just amazing,” Emmert said, alluding to the fact the Frates household was filled with guests. “The fact that you have touched all of these lives so much that they wanted to be here for this moment is pretty impressive. This is an incredible crowd. It also speaks to what this award is about. The NCAA gives an inspiration award every year to someone in athletics, typically a former student-athlete, who has done something that has inspired people to go above and beyond themselves and this room says everything that needs to be said. Pete, you obviously have an extraordinary family, a beautiful daughter, a wonderful wife and a great support system. What you have been able to do to inspire so many people to support this cause is monumental. It is, in fact, inspirational. We couldn’t be more proud to come here and present you and your family with this award.”

Julie Frates, Pete’s wife, accepted the award on his behalf. He was also joined by daughter Lucy (2), parents John and Nancy, sister Jen, nieces Freya and Addie and brother Andrew.

“On behalf of our family, we are so honored and humbled that the NCAA and Dr. Emmert would come all this way for Pete and our family,” John Frates said. “The only way the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge could happen – and go into the stratosphere that we couldn’t even imagine – was through all the connections Pete made throughout his life. Pete was always about the NCAA, so Coach Gambino and our family have always been thinking, ‘how can we connect NCAA in some way, even with an ALS Awareness Game?’ And obviously, this far surpasses that. This is one of the best accolades we have ever received. We are so grateful and so happy that everyone could be here.”

Along with Emmert, speakers included Dr. Michael Benson, the chair of the NCAA Honors Committee and president of Eastern Kentucky University, BC Director of Athletics Brad Bates, head baseball coach Mike Gambino and U.S. Representative Seth Moulton, who was inspired by Frates to co-introduce the ALS Disability Insurance Act in May 2016. Also, Matt St. Hillaire, the Massachusetts Governor’s Office Director of Personnel and Administration, issued Frates a citation in recognition of Frates’ perseverance, dedication and determination in his battle with ALS.

“Pete’s title in our program is director of baseball operations, but if you look at the look on our boys’ faces, watch them FaceTime with Pete or hear that every day they are talking to him or messaging with him, you know it’s so much more than that,” Gambino said. “He is our brother; he is our friend. Our leadership comes from Pete. Pete showed us who we all want to be. He showed us that when you live a life of integrity, you are a man of character and your cause is just like this is, people will follow. We just consider ourselves – we hope that we can be – Pete’s best followers.”

A member of the Frates family, along with Bates, will be at the NCAA Honors Celebration in January in Nashville, Tenn.

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