Being Rob Frozena
By Tim Cigelske, Comm ‘04
Life is good for Rob Frozena.
Before he graduated last May, Frozena became famous to Marquette basketball fans for his limited playing action in the waning moments of blowouts, which prompted the student section to chant his name. He still gets some of the loudest cheers at games when he shows up on the Jumbotron as a spectator.
“I can guarantee that no walk-on in the nation received more love than I did,” says Frozena.
But those snippets in the spotlight didn’t show all the work that went into getting into that position. They also don’t reveal what Frozena gained — besides his own chant.
Today, the former walk-on works as a stock trader for Baraboo Growth in Milwaukee and is engaged to be married in September. According to Frozena, Marquette helped shape who he is off the court.
“The experience was unbelievable,” he says.
Frozena attributes that experience to Coach Buzz Williams and the team as well as academics. He credits time management, hard work and his interactions with professors and athletics staff for successfully helping him balance the demands of basketball and course work. He graduated with a major in finance and marketing, with a mathematics minor.
Dr. Doug Fisher, assistant professor of management and director of the Center for Supply Chain Management, remembers Frozena as a polite and unassuming student who approached his studies with fierce dedication.
“He aggressively pursued the material,” Fisher says. “If he didn’t know something, he worked his way through it.”
Frozena took advantage of his instructor’s office hours regularly.
“He’d come to talk about academics or just life in general,” Fisher says. “He never really came with special requests — he was just trying to figure out the material. He was fun to be with. Just a good all-around young man.”
Brad Autry, coordinator of student-athlete development, says it was hard to quantify Frozena’s importance to the basketball program. That may sound overstated for someone who infrequently took off his warm-ups, but Autry says Frozena’s contributions as a model teammate went well beyond being the last man on the bench.
“He was consistently asked to put his pride on the shelf and perform at a moment’s notice in every role imaginable,” Autry says. “Rob never flinched at being asked to guard the leading scorer in Marquette history or wipe the floor after a loose ball battle in practice.”
Frozena’s reaction to hitting a last-second three-pointer in last year’s Sweet 16 — the final shot of his collegiate career — reflects that selflessness.
“A trip to the Elite 8 would have been better,” he says. “I didn’t care if I played. I just wanted to win that game.”
Taking pride in hard work on behalf of the team was a quality ingrained in him by Williams, according to Frozena.
“I can’t imagine any coach pushing someone harder,” he says. “You had to give it 110 percent, and that’s how I live my life. If I ever become a father,” Frozena says, “I’d expect the same from my son or daughter.”
Frozena sees the same ethic in this year’s team and thinks the team is capable of beating anyone in the tournament.
“They’re extremely, extremely fast,” he says. “I don’t know how I would have been able to keep up with them in the practice.”
Frozena doesn’t have to worry about that these days. His playing time is limited to pick-up games. But whether he’s watching his team from the sidelines or the stands, his connection to Marquette stays the same.
“I’ll be part of the Marquette community for the rest of my life,” he says.