When Frank Miklavcic retired from Frankfort High in 2003 he gave up teaching and coaching track and cross country.
But he’s never stepped away from the sports.
“I’m still executive director of the KTCCCA (Kentucky Track and Cross Country Coaches Association) and I time about 50 to 60 meets a year,” he said.
“I put on clinics for coaches, and I’m assistant state meet director for cross country and track. Things kind of keep me busy.”
It’s that kind of dedication that helped get Miklavcic elected to the Dawahares/KHSAA Hall of Fame. Miklavcic is one of nine members of the Hall of Fame’s 26th class.
The inductees will be recognized Tuesday, June 19 at the annual Dawahares/KHSAA Hall of Fame golf outing at the Marriot Griffin Gate in Lexington.
The induction ceremony is scheduled for April 13, 2013 at the Lexington Convention Center.
Miklavcic has coached other sports during his career – elementary football and middle school basketball at Paintsville, and girls varsity basketball and wrestling at Frankfort High.
But it’s been in track and cross country where he’s had the greatest impact.
While at FHS he coached state championship teams in girls track, indoor and outdoor, and cross country. He also had some boys indoor track state championship teams.
As far as individual state champions he’s coached, Miklavcic can’t give an exact number.
“I’ve never sat down and counted,” he said.
Miklavcic started coaching track in 1975, and he had four boys regional championship teams at Paintsville.
He came to Frankfort in 1984. Al Osborne, who had been the superintendent of the Paintsville school system, had taken the same position with Frankfort Independent and he called and offered Miklavcic a job.
“Rosie (Miklavcic’s wife) and I decided it was time for a change, and everything worked out really well.”
A native of Cleveland, Miklavcic spent two years as a pole vaulter on his high school team.
“I went to meet with a good friend of mine when I was in the fifth, sixth, seventh grade,” he said. “I couldn’t find anything I could do, so I decided to pole vault.”
When Miklavcic got home he practiced pole vaulting with no pit, using a sapling for a pole and a clothesline for the bar.
“It’s tough when you catch your toe on the clothesline,” he said. “The ground is kind of hard.”
Life after retirement
Since retiring from coaching Miklavcic has stayed involved in the sports by giving clinics and timing both track and cross country meets.
“At almost the exact same time our daughter Laura was getting married and we had all the expenses for the wedding, I bought a Finish Lynx system (timing system),” Miklavcic said.
“I’d been working with EKU. I’d done some meets for them and used their system,” he added. “I didn’t tell Rosie I was doing that (buying a Finish Lynx system), and I had some explaining to do after that.”
The investment has more than paid for itself over the years as Miklavcic keeps his schedule full working meets as a timer.
In addition to high school meets he also works elementary and middle school meets.
At the college level he’s worked meets at Murray State, Louisville, Eastern Kentucky, Centre and the University of the Cumberlands.
In 2007 Miklavcic was meet director of the National Senior Games in Louisville.
“It’s an opportunity to get out, meet people, go to different places,” he said.
And a chance to promote the sports.
“If you run a good meet they stay interested,” Miklavcic said. “If you go to a meet where there are 10 minutes between events and it lasts all day and all night, parents and participants are going to think it’s not a very good sport to be involved with.
“At Jefferson County middle school meets you’ll run 40 heats of the 100. Kids at that age want to compete and have fun.”
That’s what is most important to Miklavcic.
“Every heat’s competitive. You take the best runners to the worst runners, and the worst runners will be competitive, they get out and get exercise and have fun.
“It’s not like you have a great disparity,” he added. “Some people might be looking for Olympic caliber athletes, but with childhood obesity and the problems we have, if you get involved with track and cross country you’re not going to sit on the bench. You’re going to get out and participate.
“There was a kid from Oldham County who was last in every race he ran, but he got a lot of applause when he finished. He came back the next year and had lost 60 pounds because he stayed with it. It was something enjoyable for him.”
Family and former students
The Miklavcics have three children – Greg lives in Frankfort, Laura is in Northern Kentucky and works for Scripps Media in Cincinnati, and Ann Marie is in New Orleans -– and four grandchildren.
“That was one of the best things about coaching, getting to coach all three kids,” he said.
“I’ve always had Rosie’s support while I’ve been doing this. I was gone a lot and she took care of the kids. The joke around the house now is she’s busier than I am doing things with the State Health Department. I couldn’t have done it without them.”
During his teaching career Miklavcic taught math and science. He’s a graduate of Notre Dame and earned his master’s degree at Morehead State.
“Coaching and teaching are the greatest professions you can imagine,” he said. “You don’t realize the impact you have on kids, and I talk about that when I’m doing clinics.
“You think they’re not listening, they’re not doing what you say, but the fact is you look back later on and know kids do pay attention. You never know the impact.”
A former student of Miklavcic’s proved that point.
“A few years ago I had surgery,” he said. “I’d come home and wasn’t feeling very well. There was a message on my answering machine and I decided to play it. It was Tamika Minion, who graduated with Laura 15 years ago.
“I hadn’t heard from her in all those years but she was in town, and she wanted to thank me for what I’d done for her as a teacher and coach. She was working for a Fortune 500 company but had decided to go into teaching and she’s been doing that ever since.
“I left that message on for quite a while. It was nice to play it.”