Ivy 60 for 60: Frank Sowinski

Frank Sowinski Princeton Varsity Club
Frank Sowinski helped lead the Tigers to back-to-back Ivy League championships in 1975-76 and 1976-77. The “Polish Rifle” was the 1976-77 Ivy Player of the Year. (Princeton Varsity Club)

Frank Sowinski was one of the more productive Tigers over his stellar three-year career in the orange and black.

Sowinski’s Tiger teams won 60 games in his career and two Ivy titles. In three seasons, Princeton compiled a glittering record of 38-4 in Ivy competition. Sowinski will always be remembered as a winner and the consummate team player. His scoring average of 15.4 points per game and total of 1,133 points rank among the career leaders for the Tigers. He was marvelously efficient, finishing seventh on the Princeton all-time field goal percentage list with a 55.8 percent clip. His 63.2 percent clip in the 1976-77 campaign is the fifth-highest for a season, with his number of attempts higher than the four slots above him. Drafted by the New Jersey Nets upon graduation, Sowinski remains an unrestricted free agent to this day.

Frank received an MBA from the University of Virginia which launched him into a highly successful business career. For several years he has been a Management Affiliate for MidOcean Partners on Park Avenue and sits on many corporate boards of directors. He is an active and vital member of alumni groups in support of Princeton and its many intercollegiate athletic teams.

6 thoughts on “Ivy 60 for 60: Frank Sowinski

  1. An excellent article on Frank Sowinski who was a superb consistent player. He, however played only 3 years not 4 years , 1975-1976, 1976-1977 and 1977-1978 because because freshman did not start playing on the varsity basketball teams till the 1978-1979 season.That is why his total is 1153 points and not more like the 1600 points ,comparable top notch contemporary players have when graduating . Among his other positions, Frank Sowinski has been president of Dun and Bradstreet.

    • Hi Daniel, you’re right of course. The draft didn’t save properly and the “four” was left in rather than being changed to “three.” It’s corrected now. Sowinski is indeed one of many players from yesteryear that packed a lot of memorable moments into just three seasons. Thanks very much.

  2. Columbia beat Princeton once out of six times while Sowinski played- in 1977-1978- , a year eerily similar to this one for the Lions. The Lions ended with an 11-3 ivy record that year- The difference being that they split with Princeton who tied for 2nd with them and Penn who ended up in first 12-2, but lost to Brown who was 2-12 by 2 points- which cost them a tie.
    Looking forward to the Ivy 60 for 60 on Alton Byrd- He is the bridge between Jim Mcmillian and Maodo Lo as the best player between 1969-1970 and 2013 -2014 for the Lions

    • I second the 60 for 60 on Alton Byrd with a shout out to the other talented members of the CU teams from the ’70s. Having watched Columbia vs Princeton and Columbia vs Penn from ’75-’78, I can’t imagine the then new Levien Gym ever being any louder or more packed for hoops.

  3. Alton Byrd, Ricky Free, Juan Mitchell and Shane Cotner of the late 1970’s were like like Lo, Rosenberg, Mullins and Cohen. They were so good that they were competitive with any team and they were so athletic and fast that they were always entertaining and a challenge to the other team. Like this Lion team(assuming Yale wins against Cornell or Princeton wins two of the last three games,) they did very well, but could not get over the top. But the memories of their competitiveness and the excitement of their games has not dimmed. And a shout out to Gene Bentz and Mike Wilhite of the late 70’s teams who like Nate Hickman provided energy off the bench!

  4. Sowinski was the player who really turned me on to Princeton basketball when I was a 12/13 year old kid. If memory serves, many of his field goals came from deep in the corner. He would have racked up hundreds more points if the 3-point line had been around in his day.

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