Sept. 3, 2014


CBI Renames Inspiration Award to include Pete Frates

Honor Now Titled Tom Walter/Pete Frates College Baseball Inspiration Award


RICHMOND, Va. –, which has covered Division I baseball on the national level since 2002, today announces that is renaming its College Baseball Inspiration Award to include Pete Frates, the inspiration of the wildly successful Ice Bucket Challenge.


The award, previously named the Tom Walter College Baseball Inspiration Award, was started in 2011 to recognize examples of inspiration in college baseball and named for Wake Forest coach Tom Walter, who donated a kidney to freshman outfielder Kevin Jordan before the 2011 season. Moving forward,’s honor will be called the Tom Walter/Pete Frates College Baseball Inspiration award.


Frates, a 2013 recipient of the Tom Walter College Baseball Inspiration Award for his courage and passion to raise awareness of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), of which he was diagnosed in 2012. Frates – pronounced Fray-tees – starred at Boston College and was known for playing with intensity, energy and heart and joined the Eagles staff when coach Mike Gambino hired him as the team’s director of baseball operations when he was no longer able to keep his sales job because of his health.


This summer, Frates has been one of the key inspirations behind the Ice Bucket Challenge, a viral sensation that has raised nearly $100 million for ALS.


“We were inspired by Pete’s mission to raise awareness of ALS last year, but how his story has inspired millions of people is truly remarkable,” said Sean Ryan, co-founder of “Adding his name alongside Tom Walter made perfect sense as both epitomize what our honor is all about. How can you not be inspired by what Tom Walter and Pete Frates have done over the past few years?”


Walter, in his sixth season as coach of the Demon Deacons, said: “No one in the history of college baseball has made a bigger impact on the world around him than Pete Frates. Thanks to Pete’s courage and vision, ALS will be defeated. Pete Frates is a symbol of hope, and his crusade is a miracle. To have my name next to his is one of my life’s proudest moments. Thank you Pete.”


Added John Frates, Pete Frates’ father: “Pete has always felt it a privilege, honor and the culmination of a dream come true to play college baseball at the highest level. He has always attributed his success to the tireless effort, passion, knowledge and integrity to his coaches, and Tom Walter epitomizes that. 


“It is a special gift to be able to translate and transfer one’s knowledge of the game to young players of differing abilities and backgrounds in a team framework, but the ultimate gift of donating his kidney so another may live, thrive and play college ball, is what sets Tom Walter apart as not only a great coach, but also a better man. Pete is so honored, humbled and moved by Coach Walter’s suggestion to share the College Baseball Inspiration Award with him. Thank you Coach Walter.”


The 2014 Tom Walter/Pete Frates College Baseball Inspiration Awards will be announced on September 4.


Past recipients of the award include:

·    2011 – Walter was honored along with Georgia outfielder Johnathan Taylor and Arizona State outfielder Cory Hahn, both of whom were paralyzed during games in the 2011 season, and Bayler Teal, a 7-year-old boy whose battle with cancer inspired 2010 and 2011 national champion South Carolina in 2011.

·    2012 – Marty Gantt of College of Charleston, who was born with an underdeveloped right hand and overcame the disability to become the 2012 Southern Conference Player of the Year; Mike Kent of Clemson, who was weakened by preparations for a bone-marrow transplant for his brother but pitched against doctor’s orders and helped the Tigers to a key win over Maryland; Alex Silver of Texas, who returned to the Longhorns after battling Stage 1 Hodgkin’s lymphoma; Carter Smith of UT Martin, who was born without a right hand but made an impact as a pitcher for the Skyhawks; and Tanner Vavra of Valparaiso, who became a star despite two severe injuries to his right eye that left him totally blind in that eye.

·    2013 – Frates was honored along with Davidson head coach Dick Cooke, who overcame numerous injuries, including bleeding on his brain, broken ribs and a collapsed lung to coach the Wildcats after a severe car accident; Minnesota pitching coach Todd Oakes and pitcher Jordan Jess, with Oakes received a bone marrow transplant and Jess became a bone marrow donor to a needy recipient; Illinois State pitching coach Bill Mohl, who lost his wife to a rare form of cervical cancer during the season and came back to help guide the Redbirds to a conference title, raising $25,000 on his own for cancer research; Cody Stevens of Northwestern, who returned to action after being hit by a pitch in the head and needing emergency surgery for a blood clot that nearly took his life; and the UTPA baseball team, which befriended a pair of young children needing bone marrow transplants and held numerous bone marrow and blood drives in their community.