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Frances 'Fran' H. Ebert

Nov. 7, 2008

Frances "Fran" H. Ebert, a longtime Western Michigan University coach, died Nov. 7 at her home in Scotts, Mich. She was 78.

Ebert served as WMU's head softball coach for nine years, after founding the program in 1976. She won 69.9 percent of her games and led the Broncos to the 1984 Mid-American Conference championship, as well as to the 1982 and 1984 National Collegiate Athletic Association College World Series and the 1980 and 1981 Association for Intercollegiate Athletics for Women College World Series.

The University's softball field was renamed in Ebert's honor in 1985. Her other accolades included being inducted in 1986 into the WMU Athletics Hall of Fame, inducted in 1992 into the MAC Hall of Fame, and recognized in 1981 by the Michigan High School Athletic Association for 20 years of officiating.

The Wisconsin native came to WMU in 1964, beginning an 18-year stint as head women's basketball coach. She compiled a career record of 186-113, and led the Broncos to three state Association for Intercollegiate Athletics for Women championships and three runner-up finishes. She also did one-year coaching stints in 1964 and 1965, respectively, for the women's tennis and women's field hockey teams.

Ebert retired from coaching in 1982, but remained on WMU's faculty. She retired from the University in 1990 as an associate professor emerita of health, physical education and recreation.

During her academic career, Ebert served on numerous campus and NCAA committees and directed a variety of softball and basketball clinics. She wrote one book, "Lady Broncos: Women's Intercollegiate Athletics at Western Michigan University," and co-wrote a book on basketball techniques for women.

Scheduling of services is pending. More information will be posted at wmubroncos.com as it becomes available. Ebert had requested that in lieu of flowers, donations be made through the Gary Fund, which will designate the donations for the renovation of the women's basketball locker room.

Media contact: Matt Holmes, (269) 387-3168, matt.holmes@wmich.edu

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