Time & Change: John Frank

Former Buckeyes tight end went from Super Bowl champ to surgeon

Updated: August 29, 2012, 7:46 PM ET
By Brad Bournival | BuckeyeNation

Time and Change is a series at BuckeyeNation where we chat with former Ohio State athletes.

JohnFrankplayed for Ohio State from 1980-83, setting school records for receptions and yards by a tight end (121, 1,481). A two-time Academic All-American with the Buckeyes,Frankwas an all-state star in high school. He attended Mt. Lebanon in Pennsylvania -- the same high school as Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban.

[+] EnlargeJohn Frank
George Gojkovich/Getty ImagesFormer Buckeyes tight end John Frank, shown in 1987 with the San Francisco 49ers.
Selected in the second round of the 1984 NFL draft by San Francisco,Frankwent on to win two Super Bowls with the 49ers.

He made a key catch in San Francisco's game-winning drive to beat Cincinnati 20-16 in Super Bowl XXIII, which remains arguably one of the best Super Bowls.

After a five-year stint as a professional and at the height of his pro career,Frankleft the 49ers to pursue a degree in medicine. Frank, now 50, received his doctor of medicine degree from Ohio State in 1992 and is currently a hair restoration surgeon at the Anapelli Hair Clinic in New York City.

With offices in New York and Worthington, Ohio,Frankhas performed nearly 3,000 hair transplants. He is also an assistant professor of clinical otolaryngology in Columbia University's College of Physicians and Surgeons.

He also co-founded the Israeli bobsled team.Frankcurrently lives in New York.

BuckeyeNation caught up with Frank and talked to him about his unique career, playing for Earle Bruce and his thoughts about the Buckeyes.

BN: How did the path from Ohio State to the NFL lead you to hair restoration surgery?

Frank:From Ohio State it went through the Ohio State College of Medicine. From there it went to a residency in ear, nose and throat in Chicago. And then from there it went into practice for a little bit and then it went to a fellowship at Columbia in New York, and plastic surgery, and I'm now focusing on hair and scalp surgery. I'm a head and neck surgeon. I just started to take an interest in hair. I was good at it. I found a niche and stuck with it.

BN: Earle Bruce was known as a fiery coach. What has he taught you that you have taken into everyday life?

Frank:Earle has taught me so much. Earle didn't really waver on his training regimen. Those are valuable lessons that stick with you.

BN: What was it like to play with Hall of Famer Joe Montana during the 49ers' heyday?

Frank:He was just a winner. Joe was fun. He was the consummate NFL quarterback. He was a quiet leader. Plus, he was from Pittsburgh. He was from my part of the country -- so that was exciting -- and he was a terrific athlete.

BN: Super Bowl XXIII, you make a key catch in the game-winning drive over the Cincinnati Bengals. Take us through that drive. Was it surreal or was this one of those moments where you rely on past experience to help you out?

Frank:It was just stuff that I was doing every day. You practice it, but I had been doing it my whole young life. It's probably more exciting looking back at it now than it was at the time. It was the game-winning drive and during those moments, you really are hyperfocused. You're not going to make any mistakes.

In some ways, you're a little bit conservative because you're playing with such a talented team. We had Joe Montana and Jerry Rice and Roger Craig and Tom Rathman and John Taylor and Steve Young was on the bench. We had so many powerful weapons. I was the starting tight end, but when you're amongst such potential to score -- sure, I wanted to score the winning touchdown -- but I didn't have to score the winning touchdown because we were so stacked. That was something where you wanted to just take care of business. It was really just a team drive. You don't try to be a hero at that moment.

BN: We can't let you go without asking -- how do you think Ohio State will do this year and in the future under Coach Urban Meyer?

Frank:I think this is one of the most exciting things that I can remember happening at Ohio State. I've always felt like we weren't quite there when we were playing teams like Florida and the other teams in the SEC. Urban Meyer and some of the other coaches seemed like they had somewhat of an edge. I always wondered what it would be like if someone like Urban Meyer had the talent that Ohio State or Michigan had. Now, you put those two together, I can't be more excited about the upcoming years.

BN: What does the future hold for Dr. JohnFrank?

Frank:That's a good question. Continuing to have a beautiful family and a nice life and continuing to be the hair loss authority.