Editor's Note: This story is part of a weekly summer series recycling of "Curt's Replays" column by longtime IR sports writer Curt Synness. The article on three generations of the Frankino family's athletics was first published in the IR on Sept. 11, 2002.

HELENA — Back in the late 1960s, young red-headed Dan Frankino came home once with an exciting announcement. "Hey Mom," he yelled, "there's someone else who has red hair just like me!"

The "someone else" was an older neighbor home from college. The two guys went on to become close friends – the burly collegian even taught Dan how to ride a bike.

Not that young Frankino didn’t have a capable instructor at home. His dad, John Frankino, was a pretty fair mentor, as well.

When his Butte Central Maroons won the title in 1956, John became the youngest Montana coach (at 23) to win a state basketball championship. In the 1960s, he captured three Montana College (now Frontier) Conference titles as head man for the Carroll College cagers.

As Capital High’s assistant to Jim Optiz in 1983, their Bruins won the state hoops crown. John's collegiate coaching was recognized in 1978 when he was enshrined into the Saints Basketball Hall of Fame.

As a player, John was part of three State crowns. First with the Butte Legion’s baseball championship in 1949; with Butte Central and the 1950 state hoops crown; and then for the Butte McQueens, garnering the 1957 Copper League title.

After a career as a Carroll professor, John has served as the Executive Director of the Montana Seniors Golf Association for the past 12-years.

His wife, Aggie (Connors) Frankino, twirled the baton as a Butte Central Majorette in 1952-53 and later in life took up golf. Referring to her game, she often jokes, "How can you do so poorly at something and enjoy it so much?"

Oldest child Janice (Frankino) Doggett graduated from Capital High in 1975, where she participated in gymnastics, golf and cheerleading. She was crowned Miss Montana in 1976 on the strength of her gymnastics and jazz performances.

Janice used her scholarship winnings from the Miss America Pageant to spend a semester at sea in 1977. Two years ago she became the first female MHSA president.

Steve Frankino, possibly the family's best all-around athlete (according to his dad), was a wrestler and gymnast in junior high. As a CRA grappler, he went undefeated for two years in the 7th and 8th grades.

In legion baseball, Steve was voted the Helena Reps MVP. He played basketball (guard) and football (defensive back) at CHS, being named the grid team's Defensive MVP in 1976. Steve gridded for Carroll for two years, before a painful dislocated hip ended his career.

At his best game, golf, he earned four letters at Capital and was chosen team captain. He has won two GMCC club championships, and placed runner-up in the City Tournament. He has shot career lows of 65 at both courses, and owns two holes-in-one.

Dan Frankino earned nine letters at Capital High from 1977-79. He served as team golf captain, and in roundball was voted Eastern Division Tournament MVP his junior year and honorable mention All-State guard as a senior.

On the gridiron, Dan was co-captain on the Bruins' 1978 state championship team, and was chosen as team Defensive MVP and first team All-State defensive back. He shared (with Eric Stebbins) a new school record of seven interceptions.

At Carroll, Dan was part of two Frontier Conference championships. He was a three-time All-Conference defensive back (1980-82), while earning Academic All-American (3.93 GPA). Now a teacher at Whitefish, he has coached football and is presently the Bulldogs’ golf coach.

In 2000, Dan and Saints’ teammate Bart Aby entered the Carroll College Athletic Hall of Fame.

Kathi Frankino Mauler, who was a gymnast and cheerleader, graduated CHS in 1981. She now teaches elementary school in Seattle.

The youngest child, Dave Frankino, was the football manager for Carroll coach Bob Petrino for many years. He attends all their sporting events, and is considered to be the Fighting Saints "Number-1 Fan." Dave has seen a Steelers game in Pittsburgh, the Chargers play in San Diego, and a Jazz contest in Salt Lake City.

The grandchildren are all pretty fair athletes, as well.

Mike Doggett runs cross-country and track at Capital, and at State last year he placed fifth in the 400 and third with the 1,600 relay team. His sister Sara Doggett is a swimmer and tennis player.

Anna Frankino is a Lady Bruins soccer player and cheerleader, while her sister Jenna is an all-around athlete at CRA, where she shares the 7th grade high jump record. Maggie Frankino, a 3rd grader in Whitefish, loves all sports, according to her grandmother.

Oh...in case you're curious about the big red-head who taught Dan how to ride a bike – his name is Stu Kellner, former All-Pac 10 football player for Stanford.

NOTE: John Frankino died in 2016, Steve Frankino died in 2017, and Kathi Frankino passed in 2018.

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Curt Synness is on Twitter @curtsynness_IR and can be reached at curt.synness@lee.net or curt52synness@gmail.com


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