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Dave Fromm, Steele County Times,
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Remembering Dave Fromm
Johnnie Phillips, Sports Editor
Johnnie Phillips, editor, sports, Steele County Times

As a sports reporter, you get to know the people involved in the community’s athletics in almost two separate roles.

In most instances, you have the individual and then their coaching persona - the role that they portray as a coach or athlete once they hit the field.

Many times, it’s easy to spot when somebody is going into the proverbial “coach mode,” where their sole focus is making sure their team is prepared for a game, or even prepared to hear what they must change after a loss.

In rare cases, you see somebody who is perfectly in tune with their life as a community member and coach – somebody who genuinely lives and breathes the game.

These people are the ones you want coaching your athlete’s teams. These people resemble Dave Fromm.

Fromm passed away this past weekend, and when I heard the tragic news, it made me sit back and reflect.

I met Fromm two years ago, when he took over as the head coach of Owatonna boys’ hockey, and quickly knew he was one of the good ones.

Having instantly shared a connection of being locals to the Prior Lake area, we shared mutual friends and had an understanding of places far outside of Steele County.

What became immediately obvious about Fromm was that hockey and coaching were more than a passion for him – they were his life.

Always to be found at the rink, Fromm coached with a spark from the bench that was infectious to both fans and athletes.

Always sticking up for his guys and never afraid to spill the truth when aspects of the team’s play needed to change, Fromm was the kind of guy who would win you over, even if you were a reporter watching with a close eye.

We aren’t supposed to show bias as reporters… Fromm made that job difficult.

From starting 1-7 overall in his first eight games as head coach to finishing the same season on an 8-2 heater, Fromm’s teams were known for playing hard-nosed, physical style with an emphasis on team play and unselfish hockey.

I’ll miss the post-game interviews and even just seeing him out in public around town on off days.

I won’t be the only one.

A tribute from the Colorado Thunderbirds AAA program – where Fromm coached for almost 10 years before arriving in Owatonna – read, “It is with heavy hearts that we share the news of the passing of Dave Fromm, a beloved coach, a devoted husband, and cherished father. Dave poured his heart and soul into mentoring countless young athletes, but his impact extended far beyond the game itself.”

More news on Fromm’s passing will come at a later time.

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