Retiring Bruins coach Fred Blanks reflects on hall-of-fame career

October 5, 2021


Hall-of-fame coach Fred Blanks is retiring after more than three decades of coaching at Northrop High School.

Blanks, who started coaching at Northrop in 1986, led the Bruins girls track & field team from 1986 to 1998, the boys cross country team from 1986 to 1994 and the boys track & field team from 2007 to 2021. Banks also was an assistant coach for girls basketball, boys basketball and football during his time at Northrop.

1991 northrop track
Blanks and his Northrop girls track & field team won
the IHSAA State Championship in 1991 (photo: IHSAA)

Over the years, Blanks' teams have racked up the hardware. His Lady Bruins won the state track & field championship in 1991, and finished as state runner-up in 1990 and 1992. In boys track, his Bruins won 27 Summit Athletic Conference Championships, 15 sectional titles and 11 regional titles. 

All told, he's coached 11 individual state champions, two state champion relay teams, eight individual state runners-up, four state runner-up relay teams and three high school All-Americans.

He was named State Coach of the Year in 1991 and 1992 by the Indiana Coaches of Girls Sports Association and 1991 State Coach of the Year by the Indiana Association of Track & Cross Country Coaches.

Blanks hall of fame
Fred Blanks, third from left, was part of the 2016 class inducted into the
Indiana Track & Field and Cross Country Hall of Fame (photos: IATCCC)

In 2016, Blanks was inducted into the Indiana Track & Field Hall of Fame alongside Talia (Barwick) Ross, who was state and national champion in the 800-meter run in 1998 as well as Indiana Gatorade Track Athlete of the Year as a senior.

Blanks can be found in helping students in the guidance office, supervising during lunch periods or directing parking lot traffic daily at Northrop. While his coaching career has come to an end, he will continue to do be an integral part of daily operations at the school.

Northrop is one of 26 high schools that partner with Parkview Sports Medicine for athletic training, nutrition, athletic rehab, sports performance and other sports medicine services. Learn more at


written & produced by Eric Dutkiewicz

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