Thursday, January 16th, 2014
By Robb Hemmelgarn
Frye returns to St. Marys
Veteran coach excited for second stint with 'Riders
Speculation has pumped through barber shops, card clubs and morning "coffee meetings" throughout St. Marys for the past couple of weeks and on Wednesday night, following school board approval, former Wapakoneta head coach Doug Frye was tabbed as the St. Marys football program's head man for the second time.
Roughrider faithful harbor high expectations that the hire will be the perfect medication for their beloved program that has nestled in the basement of the Western Buckeye League for the past two years while currently suffering through a 21-game losing streak. Frye will immediately embark on his second stint with the Roughrider program and looks to get things steered in the right direction in a hurry.
"This was definitely a decision that I made with home in heart and mind," said Frye. "There was a time I definitely felt like I would finish my coaching career in Wapakoneta, and there is absolutely no other job for which I would have considered leaving. We have lived in St. Marys since 1998 and my entire family now lives here, so there was certainly a tug to return and the timing now was just right. I am very appreciative of the support I have been given by the school and the community. It is a great testament to them and to the desire they have to get their football program heading back in the right direction."
Frye's first dance with the Roughriders began in 1998 when he guided them to a 6-4 overall mark. From there, St. Marys advanced to the postseason in seven of the next 10 seasons, highlighted by their appearance in the Division III state championship game in 2004 when they fell to Cleveland Benedictine. In Frye's final season at Skip Baughman Stadium in 2008, the Roughriders were 9-3 and co-champions of the WBL, the third time Frye either owned or shared the league title. In his 11 years at St. Marys, Frye's teams combined for an 89-35 mark, but things have spiraled downhill since, as St. Marys has gone 10-40 under two different head coaches.
"As time goes on, experience helps you through certain situations in life," said Frye. "When I went to Wapakoneta, I left a program here that I had been with for 11 years, so it was very difficult. Now leaving Wapakoneta is definitely difficult, but this is a situation that does not happen very often and this is a very special opportunity for myself and my family."
Frye stepped away from St. Marys in 2009 before grabbing the Wapakoneta job the following season where he stayed for four seasons before concluding his stint with an overall record of 33-10 and a pair of postseason appearances. Prior to Frye's arrival in Wapakoneta, the Redskins had just one winning record in the previous five years and had not been to the postseason in the program's history.
"There really is no magic wand in order to make a program successful," said Frye. "The condition of the program that is here in St. Marys isn't as good as the one that was in place in Wapakoneta when I arrived there, so we just need to continue working hard and doing the best we can to implement a positive attitude in the kids, the coaching staff and the community. As far as offensive and defensive philosophies, we are planning to evaluate the personnel over the next few months and establish what we feel will be the best game plan in order for us to become successful."
Frye understands there is much to be accomplished in the next six months to have his new squad prepared for the upcoming season, including getting himself re-acquainted with the kids, many of whom were in junior high and elementary school when he last roamed the St. Marys sidelines.
"There are some great kids here who just need that confidence it takes to win games," said Frye. "Myself and my staff need to build a strong relationship with all of them as well as talk to kids who have walked away from the program in the recent past and try to encourage them to come back and work with us. My goal is to build a staff of coaches that I have coached with in the past and also include former players to help with the transition. Most times when you arrive in a new program, you are surrounded by a staff, players and a community with which you are not familiar. This won't be the case here, so I am hoping to use that to our advantage and continue to build on the familiarity we have already established."
St. Marys and Wapakoneta are slated to clash on Oct. 14 at Skip Baughman Stadium. Frye finished 9-2 against the Redskins during his first stint with St. Marys and was unbeaten against the Roughriders during his four years at Wapakoneta.
"Adults are adults and we can adjust to emotional situations a lot easier than kids sometimes can," said Frye. "When I faced St. Marys for the first time in 2010, I was coaching against kids that I had watched grow up through the ranks, and it will be similar this year when we play Wapakoneta. The seniors over there are kids that I have coached all through high school and to whom I have grown very attached. I am sure it will be emotional leading up to the game that week, but once the whistle blows, it will be business as usual."
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