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Stams -- With A Nasty Hit

"Around 20 Questions" With... former Notre Dame linebacker Frank Stams

Welcome to the latest installation of "Around 20 Questions," a regular fixture on Insights. Three of these appear each week with the schedule being Mondays -- non-revenue athletes/coaches; Wednesday -- an athletic alumni/former coach; Thursday -- football/men's basketball/women's basketball player or coach. If there is anyone you want us to talk to or any tips on who inside the wacky Notre Dame world might be a good, pithy interview subject, drop an e-mail to mrothstein@jg.net. Frank Stams is a former Notre Dame defensive end, part of the 1988 National Championship team and an impressive defense along with Michael Stonebreaker and Wes Pritchett.

Irish Insights: In the past 20 years, what have you been up to?

Frank Stams: "Oh, well, I'm married and I finished my NFL career with the Browns and met my wife here in Northeast Ohio. We both live in Akron and we have two small children, a girl, 7, and a boy, 6. I do the color for the University of Akron on the radio broadcast and I work as a Vice President of the Evans Insurance Agency in Akron, Ohio." II: How'd you get involved with the play-by-play stuff?

FS: "Actually, the Browns called me. Akron called the Browns looking for a former player and the Browns called me and said 'Hey, you're in the area, it's in your backyard, would you be interested in it?' After they saw I had a heartbeat, they hired me."

II: Were you surprised to get that call? Was it something you ever thought you'd do?

FS: "I was kind of surprised because I wasn't out pursuing that but now I have my own radio show out here in town on Monday nights from 6-7 and I love, as you probably can tell, I love talking about football and I love talking about my experience."

II: What was that first game like doing the color? Was that more nerve wracking than playing?

FS: "Way more nerve wracking. Let me tell you something. I should have done it with my helmet and shoulder pads on, I would have felt much more comfortable. But yeah, I was definitely a fish out of water that whole first season. Then, I talked to some people in the business, Roger Valdiserri, the sports information director at Notre Dame when I was there has helped me out a great deal and also some local talent here."

II: Do you remember that first game, who it was against?

FS: "Yeah, it was against Penn State. So that didn't help things."

II: Have you listened to that tape since?

FS: "No, no, no. I need to go and listen to myself do the games because I understand that's how you get better but I haven't brought myself to that part yet."

II: A lot of times when you talk to radio people, they say they don't remember half of what they say. Are you like that?

FS: "It's like when I played. I remember exactly everything I did on that football field and I remember exactly everything I do in that radio booth."

II: Is that a good thing?

FS: "It serves me well for getting me better. It served me well on the football field getting me better because you're always replay, replay, replay. It's what they do in film study, just replay, replay, replay, watch yourself, watch yourself, watch yourself to get better. I guess I'm my own worst critic."

II: Getting with the insurance stuff, you're a vice president?

FS: "Yeah, Evans Insurance Agency and working with an investment position."

II: I'm guessing that's more the route you saw yourself going when you got done with football.

FS: "It's something I work with great people. It's something I like doing and it's something that I can spend time with my family."

II: What's next weekend going to be like (at the 20-year national championship reunion)? Have you thought about that?

FS: "Oh man, it's going to be great. It's going to be a lot of emotions flying around, guys just seeing each other. I talked to Barry (Alvarez) and he's not going to be able to make it but I got to find a Fathead of him so we can stick him up and all take a picture around him."

II: You couldn't have just stolen the statue from Wisconsin last week (Akron played at Wisconsin)?

FS: "Hahahaha."

II: When you're on the radio, is there a line you have? Have you developed your own style, your own catchphrases?

FS: "Nah. But Don Criqui gave me a bit of advice. Don't be afraid to develop one of those catchphrases, to say something bold. I'm in the process of doing that."

II: How long have you been doing it now?

FS: "This is my fourth year. I never thought up until this year that it was something that I would want to pursue, but it is something I would want to pursue."

II: So are career aspirations beyond, to be on the national level?

FS: "That'd be nice. That'd be nice."

II: Would you consider coming back to Notre Dame to do it?

FS: "Absolutely. In a heartbeat."

PREVIOUS "AROUND 20 QUESTIONS:" Alex Yoshinaga; Morrice Richardson; Chris Smith; Kim Kristoff; Pat Kuntz; Abdel Banda; Brittany Bock; Golden Tate; Darrell "Flash" Gordon; Christina Kaelin.

The Journal Gazette's Assistant Sports Editor Tony Krausz covers The University of Notre Dame. Krausz, a graduate of the University of Missouri School of Journalism and a native of St. Louis, has been assistant sports editor since October 2005. Prior to joining the JG, he worked at two papers in Mississippi covering high school and college athletics.

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