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Frank "Knute" Gnup

Football ∙ Aliquippa

 

 

 

 

Frank (Knute) Gnup spent most of his long and highly successful sports career so far from home that many Beaver Countians are unaware of his achievements. At Aliquippa High School, Frank starred in football and baseball and also played basketball, graduating in 1935. In 1934 and 1935 he was named All WPIAL Class A quarterback, the first Aliquippa player to earn that honor. In those days, football players played both ways, and Frank was also an outstanding defensive back. After high school he enrolled in Manhattan College and starred there as a guard, quarterback, blocking back, and linebacker, averaging 30 tackles per game as a linebacker even though he only weighed 172 pounds. After playing Air Force football during World War II, Frank was drafted by the Buffalo Bills but decided on the Canadian Football League, where was a player and coach for the Hamilton Tigercats and Toronto Argonauts. Frank retired as a player in 1950 and began his college coaching career in 1955 at the University of British Columbia. He was head football coach at the University of British Columbia for 18 seasons until health problems forced his retirement in 1974. After Frank died in 1976 at age 59, the British Columbia Provincial Football Championship for high school teams was renamed in his honor, a tribute to the fact that his University of British Columbia grid teams had won three Western Conference championships, in spite of the fact that the school did not recruit and de-emphasized sports.