equipment manager, 1962-98
inducted October 2, 2008
For decades, former Columbia student-athletes would head to the second floor of Chrystie Field House immediately upon returning to Baker Field on Homecoming.
They wanted to say hello to their friend, Frank Dobbins, in the equipment room.
The affection they had for him was evident, as was the dedication, respect and commitment Dobbins gave each and every one of his Columbia Athletics teams during his entire tenure.
Bill Campbell ‘62CC knew Dobbins both as a player for the Lions and as the football team’s head coach. “No one has ever given more of his personal self to the athletes,” Campbell said. “He would recognize when kids were down. Players relied on Frank for years for comfort and advice. He was adviser, consultant, uncle, father. He was your father away from home.”
Dobbins had plenty of experience in the role of father. He and his late wife, Helen, raised seven children in Queens. At times, he worked multiple jobs to put each of them through college.
His work ethic was as solid as the bronze lion statue that greeted him when he arrived at work at Baker Field each day for 36 years.
Dobbins started work in athletics in the fall of 1962. It was a Friday, and he was supposed to meet Wyatt Webb at Baker Field in the morning, and ride down with him in the equipment truck to Philadelphia, where the football team would work out that afternoon to prepare for its game at Penn the following day.
Frank showed up on schedule; however, Webb had forgotten that he was coming, and had left without him. Undaunted, Dobbins hopped on the subway to Penn Station, then took a train to Philadelphia. When Webb pulled into Franklin Field in the truck, guess who was there waiting for him?
When Dobbins retired in 1998, an era of Columbia Athletics came to a close. When he passed away in January of 2008, all who knew him lost a friend.