Elaine was whiffing the same smell. "I guess some people think we were trying to make them look bad," she says. "Why they feel that way is beyond me."
The better question is, Why would a man want to take zip for a job that takes 75 hours a week during the season and that he'd been getting paid to do at Fresno State for 23 years?
"Simple," says Fraley, who is a 1960 Fresno grad and has been a track coach for 43 years. "I grew up a field-worker. My dad made 50 cents a day picking cotton in the San Joaquin Valley. I never thought I'd get to teach, never thought I'd get to coach, never thought I'd have an NCAA champion, never thought I'd get to see the world. This university has done more for me than I could ever pay back. But I can do this—and I want to."
Besides, in a way, Fraley did it for selfish reasons. "Without track and field," says Elaine, "I'm afraid he might just lie on the couch and shrivel up. How many people do you know who get up and hate going to work? Not Bob. For 43 years he's loved his job. And that's worth all the money in the world."
So Bob will go on coaching track and field as well as or better than almost anybody living—he's had 44 All-Americas and five individual national champions—and Elaine will go on working as the deejay at the wild-music-and-muscle concerts/parties/mosh pits that are track meets at Fresno State. Why should all that die over a dang pay stub?
Fraley wasn't about to let it happen, so he saved a program with a proud history and the athletic dreams of what will be hundreds of college kids. "We're just ecstatic that he would do this," says assistant coach Chris Campbell, "but we're just a little concerned for the welfare of him and his wife."
"Phhhbbbttt," says Elaine. "We'll be fine. When you help people, you rarely end up getting screwed."
They don't feel screwed by Title IX, either. "We're not in the mess 'cause of Title IX," Fraley says. "We're in this mess 'cause of excesses by the other sports."
Excesses? What excesses? Well, Fresno State is in the peculiar position of paying its former basketball coach, the outlaw Jerry Tarkanian, $120,000 a year to do nothing while paying Fraley nothing to do everything. (Do you know how many javelins a $120,000 consulting fee would buy?) And one of the school's former statisticians says he was paid $1,500 by the basketball team's academic adviser to write 17 term papers for athletes in 2000. Other than that, no excesses at all.
Oh, if you're thinking, 'Hell, I light my cigars with hundred-dollar bills. Why don't I just help the Fraleys?' Don't bother. Other people have already tried. They've sent the Fraleys money and gifts. The Fraleys won't use them for themselves. Anything he's gotten out of this, Bob has put into the program.