Warren P. Fraleigh passed away on April 3 rd at the age of 96. He is survived by philosopher and
dance professor Sondra Fraleigh, his wife of 55 years, and daughter Christina. Warren was a
veteran of World War II, having volunteered for submarine service. After the war, he
matriculated at Wayne State University on the GI Bill of Rights and went on to earn his Ph.D. at
The Ohio State University. Warren was a native of Detroit, Michigan and was a life-long fan of
some of that city’s professional teams.
He spent most of his academic career at San Jose State University and the State University of
New York at Brockport. He was Professor and Dean of Physical Education and Sport at
Brockport for 26 years from 1970-1996. It was while Warren was at Brockport that he made his
most significant contributions to the philosophy of sport.
Warren provided the vision and energy for the founding of the Philosophic Society for the Study
of Sport (PSSS, now IAPS) in December of 1972. He worked with Paul Weiss (Catholic University
of America), Hans Lenk (Karlsruhe University), Richard Zaner (State University of New York-
Stoneybrook), Ellen Gerber (University of Massachusetts), and others in organizing the society.
The first annual meeting of the PSSS was chaired by Professor Fraleigh and held at Brockport in
November of 1973. A year later the initial edition of the Journal of the Philosophy of Sport was
published. Paul Weiss served as the first President of PSSS. Warren followed as President a
Warren laid the groundwork for both the Society and the Journal at a series of meetings that
took place from 1968 through 1972. This included symposiums at Brockport at which Bernard
Suits presented some of his early work that would appear later in The Grasshopper. It also
included meetings at the Olympic Scientific Congress in Munich, Germany where Warren and
Paul Weiss agreed to form a steering committee that would include two philosophers (Weiss
and Richard Zaner) and two physical educators (Fraleigh and Ellen Gerber).
It was Warren Fraleigh who took the lead in this preliminary work. Warren, in short, earned his
reputation as the founder of what became the world-wide subdiscipline of the philosophy of
On a more personal note, I had the privilege of working under Warren at Brockport for 13
years. He was my surrogate father, my mentor, and my friend. Nobody could ask for a kinder,
more gentle, more courageous, and steadfast role model than Warren. His strong values and
personal integrity always drove his behavior. He loved sport, and he loved philosophy. He
believed in international cooperation and doggedly worked to make the PSSS a truly multi-
national organization. While he was trained in physical education, he worked as easily with
philosophers and theologians as with sport coaches. He loved good ideas, no matter who
produced them, no matter what their geographical or disciplinary origin might have been.
Warren set the tone for the collegial society all of us now enjoy. We belong to an organization
that supports young scholars and welcomes a diversity of viewpoints in a warm environment.
Warren showed us how this could be done.
For years, he argued with Bob Simon over the ethics of the intentional foul. It is a tribute to
both Warren and Bob that they became, and remained, the best of friends. They demonstrated
how hard-nosed philosophy can be conducted in a mutually affirming and respectful way.
All of us who now work and play in the philosophy of sport owe an immeasurable debt of
gratitude to Warren P. Fraleigh. Congratulations Warren, on a life very well-lived.
(Sondra Fraleigh’s tribute and information on memorial gifts can be accessed at the following