DURHAM, N.C. - Dr. Frank Bassett, Duke's team physician from 1966-93 and a member of the school's Sports Hall of Fame, passed away on Tuesday evening at his home in Durham. He was 78.
A funeral will be held in the Duke Chapel at 11 a.m. on Monday, March 12, with a reception following at the Yoh Football Center. There will be a visitation with the family from 4-6 p.m. on Sunday March 11 at the Hall-Wynne Funeral Home, located at 1113 West Main Street in Durham.
"Duke Athletics lost one of the giants in its history last night after Frank Bassett's passing," said Director of Athletics Joe Alleva. "Frank was universally respected and loved. He touched so many lives -- always in a positive fashion. It is hard to imagine this department without Dr. Bassett with us. Our thoughts and prayers go out to his family during this difficult time. It is nearly impossible to express how much he will be missed as words cannot do it justice."
Bassett joined the Duke Medical Center in 1963 and served in several capacities including Director of the Sports Medicine Center, head team physician for Duke Athletics and professor of orthopaedic surgery. He was a founding member of the American Orthopaedic Society for Sports Medicine.
"Dr. Bassett will continue to be a part of all of us through the important living legacies he has left us through the Bassett Society, Bassett Chair and the Bassett Endowment, all of which support Duke athletes, research and educational initiatives in sports medicine," said Dr. Claude T. Moorman, III, Director of Duke Sports Medicine.
In 1994, Bassett was inducted into the Duke Sports Hall of Fame along with Gene Banks, Charles Gilfillan and Nancy Hogshead just after retiring from the school's medical department. In the fall of 1998, he was honored with the naming of the street that leads from Science Drive to the Finch-Yeager Sports Medicine Building at Wallace Wade Stadium as Frank Bassett Drive.
In 2002, Bassett received the Volunteer of the Year award from the National Association of Athletic Development Directors for his efforts in co-chairing the Duke University Football Campaign. The campaign raised over $20 million for the Yoh Football Center that opened in the fall of 2002.
Born November 19, 1928 in Hopkinsville, Ky., Bassett earned bachelor's and master's degrees from the University of Kentucky in 1950 and 1951, respectively, where he played football under legendary head coach Paul "Bear" Bryant. After spending time in the U.S. military during the Korean conflict, he graduated from the University of Louisville school of medicine in 1957 and later served his orthopaedic residency at Duke in the early 1960s.
Bassett is survived by his wife, Anne, and three children, Marshall, Lucia and F. Houston IV.
Head Basketball Coach
"This is a sad day. Dr. Bassett touched everyone in the athletic department in a positive way. He was a true friend to the athletes, coaches and certainly his patients. We all loved him and his memory will go on forever because he gave everyone part of him. We're going to dearly miss him."
Head Football Coach
"Dr. Bassett has meant so much to so many people. His broad scope of leadership and influence has helped shape the lives of many. It was apparent that he received great joy from helping people from all walks of life. He has done so much for Duke and for many of us personally. This is a sad time for all who knew him. He was a special man and will be greatly missed."
Head Athletic Trainer
"Dr. Bassett always made the athletic trainers and the student-athletes his main priority. He dedicated a major portion of his life to the care of the Duke athletes and cared deeply about Duke University and Duke Athletics. Dr. Bassett not only led Duke Sports Medicine from its infancy but was an international leader in the field. He has mentored countless athletes about the medical profession and provided them financial support for medical school through the Bassett Society. I will personally be indebted to him for the guidance he provided me throughout my career at Duke. The Duke athletic trainers will definitely miss Dr. Bassett and the legacy he has left for Duke Sports Medicine."
Dr. Claude T. Moorman, III
Director of Duke Sports Medicine
Duke football letterman, 1980-82
“Dr. Basset was a man who was truly larger than life. He had a charisma about him that drew so many of us into orthopaedics. He was a father figure for just about the entire current generation of Duke Sports Medicine physicians, molding us along the way. His interest in the athlete and bringing cutting edge technology really advanced our art. I remember when I hurt my knee during my sophomore year at Duke I had what is called a grade three MCL injury. Up until that time this had all been managed with surgery, but Dr. Basset had just been to a meeting where he heard of NFL players that heal better with non-operative treatment. So, I was actually the first guy in the ACC treated non-operatively for an MCL injury. I’m very grateful for that because I had a full recovery. He was involved in many innovative advances in rehabilitation and he was just generally respected throughout the United States and the world. He is a very beloved figure that we will miss tremendously."
Duke football letterman, 1968-70
Three-time All-ACC quarterback
"One of the great selling points back in the 1960s for coming to Duke was the professional doctors who cared for the players. Dr. Bassett optimized the excellent service here. It was a tremendous experience for me to have him as a friend, mentor and doctor. Almost 30 years later, we rekindled our friendship and relationship when he asked me to join his work with the Duke Football Campaign. Working alongside him allowed me to appreciate his generosity, kindness and love for Duke. He will be missed by so many people."
Duke football letterman, 1997-00
Team captain, 2000
"Dr. Bassett was affectionately known by the student-athletes as “Dr. B.” Not only was Dr. B a great person and tremendous ambassador for Duke Athletics, but he provided mentorship to a countless number of student-athletes. Most importantly, he was a friend."
Duke basketball letterman, 1977-80
Three-time All-America center
"Dr. Bassett was more than a caregiver; he was a friend. He was involved in a fraternity that I was involved in as our chapter advisor. He was a caring, giving guy in all facets of his life. I’m greatly saddened to hear of his passing and the whole Duke community has lost a great person.”