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Nanooks bring back renowned Fairbanks figure Frank Ostanik to coach men’s basketball team

by | Jun 6, 2024 | Basketball, Cover Story

Frank Ostanik approves his team’s effort at last season’s Class 4A state tournament. Photo by Stephanie Burgoon/Alaska Sports Report

In need of a new men’s basketball coach the Nanooks dipped into their past to bring back Frank Ostanik, a lifelong Fairbanks resident and renowned figure who played for UAF in the early 1990s and coached the team from 2004 to 2007.

Ostanik will return to the sideline after spending the last 16 years at nearby Monroe Catholic High School. He will replace former head coach Greg Sparling, who had led UAF for the past six seasons including a NCAA Tournament Sweet 16 run in 2022.

Ostanik made his own Sweet 16 run with the Nanooks in 2005 on his way to posting a career record of 55-32, including a 2-4 mark against the Seawolves.

When you think about Fairbanks hoops, you can’t help but think of Ostanik – a big man who has left a big impression on his hometown, winning at every step of the way.

“Having spent the majority of my life in Fairbanks, I know the values – toughness, hard work, and selflessness – that make Fairbanks special and I am confident I can build a program that emulates those qualities,” he said in a statement released by the school.

Frank Ostanik

In 1987, the 6-foot-4 Ostanik averaged 21 points to lead Eielson to its first state title. At UAF, he played 41 career games from 1990-92 and averaged 4.6 points on 54% shooting to go with 2.8 rebounds.

In 1996, he joined the UAF coaching staff and was an assistant for eight seasons before getting the head job in 2004. He was on staff in 2002 when the Nanooks won the Top of the World Classic to become the first Division II men’s team in NCAA history to win an eight-team tournament against Division I competition.

In his first season as bench boss he led UAF to a GNAC title and then won two games at the NCAA Tournament. In 2007, he was named GNAC Coach of the Year. He finished his first stint with a 31-21 record in GNAC games.

“His leadership and coaching experience, along with his relationships throughout the Fairbanks community and state of Alaska, will complement the new chapter of Nanooks men’s basketball,” said UAF athletic director Brock Anundson.

GNAC Wins UAF Coaches
60 – Mick Durham 2012-18
31 – Frank Ostanik 2005-07
29 – Al Sokaitis 2002-04
14 – Clem Johnson 2008-12
11 – Greg Sparling 2018-23

At Monroe, Ostanik went 369-85 and guided the Rams to four Class 3A state championships and nine conference titles. Two years ago, the boys team was bumped up to the Class 4A level and last year Monroe advanced to the state semifinals before losing to the top-ranked East T-birds.

His teams are known for playing with maximum effort from tip to finish and forcing opponents to match their enthusiasm.

These days, Ostanik can’t hide his enthusiasm about coaching the Nanooks again.

“It is hard for me to convey my excitement,” he said.

Story made possible by:

Family of Sponsors

Advanced Diagnostics, INC | Alaska Airlines | Alaska Oil and Gas Association | Alliance for Support of American Legion Baseball in Alaska | Joe Alston | Arctic Slope Regional Corporation | Aspen Endodontics | Glen Bailey | Kathie Bethard | Black-Smith, Bethard & Carlson, LLC. | BOSCO's | Don Clary & Judy Besh | Zareena and Allen Clendaniel | Continental Auto Group | Joey Caterinichio & Ja Dorris | The Conway Family | Donley Family | Jim & Michelle Hajdukovich | Foley & Pearson | JL Properties | Mark and Jamie Johnson | Kristopher Knauss | Loren Kroon | Dr. Justin Libby, DDS | Jason & Shannon Metrokin | Amy and Jason Miller | Multisport Training of Alaska/Lisa Keller | Rick Mystrom | Kathleen Navarre | Seth Wickersham & Alison Overholt | Dave and DeAnne Rand | R&M Consultants, Inc. | RE/MAX Dynamic Properties Kevin Taylor | Replacement Glass | Residential Mortgage | RSA Engineering- Sarah & A.J. Schirack | Tony and Carla Slaton Barker | Sportclips Haircuts | Alice & Gunnar Knapp | Peter Pounds | Dan Rufner | Harlow Robinson | Pete Robinson | Moria Smith | Taylored Restoration | In memory of Drs. John & Elizabeth Tower | Team Heat | Todd Whited | UAA Seawolves | Don Winchester

Family of Sponsors

Alaska Airlines | Nicole Johnston | Richard Mize | Advanced Diagnostics, INC | Aktive Soles | Alaska Oil and Gas Association | Aspen Endodontics | Black-Smith, Bethard & Carlson, LLC. | BOSCO's | Coho Financial Group | Continental Auto Group | Don Clary & Judy Besh | Glen Bailey | Invisalign-Ben Ward | JL Properties | Joey Caterinichio & Ja Dorris| Kathleen Navarre | Midas Alaska | Moose's Tooth, Bear Tooth and Broken Tooth Brewing | Perkins Coie - Sarah & A.J. Schirack | R&M Consultants, Inc. | RE/MAX Dynamic Properties Kevin Taylor | Residential Mortgage | Seth Wickersham & Alison Overholt | Taylored Restoration | Korndrop Family Foundation | Arctic Slope Regional Corporation | Replacement Glass | Zareena and Allen Clendaniel | Foley & Pearson | UAA Seawolves | Tony and Carla Slaton Barker | Sportclips Haircuts | Alliance for Support of American Legion Baseball in Alaska | Alice & Gunnar Knapp | Amy and Jason Miller | Burgerfi | Charles Fedullo | Dan Rufner | Darren Lieb | Don Winchester | Donley Family | Dr. Justin Libby, DDS | Firetap | Harlow Robinson | Jason & Shannon Metrokin | Jim & Michelle Hajdukovich | Joe Alston | Kathie Bethard | Krispy Kreme | Kristopher Knauss | Loren Kroon | Mark and Jamie Johnson | Mark Silverman | On the Border | Pete Robinson | Rick Mystrom | Team Heat | Team Moriarty | The Conway Family | Todd Whited | Moria Smith | In memory of Drs. John & Elizabeth Tower | Peter Pounds | Multisport Training of Alaska/Lisa Keller | RSA Engineering

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