Posted June 19, 2013

Frank Hall, reluctant hero, on June 24 cover of Sports Illustrated

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Simon Bruty/SI

On Feb. 27, 2012, Chardon High School assistant football coach Frank Hall was faced with the question educators fear most: What do I do if a student pulls out a gun and starts shooting?

A troubled 17-year-old student forced Hall to answer that question when he stormed the school’s cafeteria and opened fire with a semiautomatic pistol, leaving three kids dying and a school in panic.

Hall, a beloved figure who — despite a 6-foot-1, 350-pound frame — is as gentle as they come, made a daring decision to charge the shooter and chase him from the school.

The story of Chardon’s tragedy and its reluctant hero is revisited and remembered in a cover story by senior writer Gary Smith in this week’s SPORTS ILLUSTRATED. 

Smith takes us through that frightful day in the small town 30 miles outside of Cleveland. “In a flash, Frank had determined that attack was the best defense, the only way to be who Frank Ray Hall always had been: the protector,” he writes.

PODCAST: Gary Smith discusses story with Richard Deitsch

Harder than making the decision to risk his life and confront a killer? Learning how to cope with the overwhelming grief in the weeks and months to come.

(You can subscribe to Sports Illustrated here and purchase the tablet edition here.)

GALLERY: 2013 Sports Illustrated covers


7 comments
mlevin46
mlevin46

Great story, both for the profile in courage and for the heartbreaking reminder there seems to be nothing horrific enough to move Americans to insist that our elected officials (and those whose campaign contributions control their votes) bring about gun control in the U.S. 

67OhioState67
67OhioState67

Frank Hall is an amazing man. I think the article made it clear, but the man has a heart of gold. I played under him til I graduated in 2009. He really cares deeply about people, and there aren't very many people in the world that are like that. Coach Hall makes me want to be a better person. I love the guy.

justobserving5
justobserving5

Can we buy a Lakeside Football T-Shirt? What a great fundraiser for the team! I'd buy a couple!

aaronfarber9
aaronfarber9

Courageous man. Not to politicize things, but I question whether a hired security guard at every school, as the NRA wants, would demonstrate the same level of dedication to the school children as this man. You can't put Hall's qualities on a job application. Great story.

DeborahJ.Dirk-Halley
DeborahJ.Dirk-Halley

This is a great inspiration story for everyone to be encouraged to stop a tragedy before it is too late.

David102
David102

Gary Smith is the best there is. I'm sure it will be a great story.