Meet the new boss, same as the old boss.
Doug Frye will return to St. Marys as the head football coach, pending board of education approval at the Wednesday, Jan. 15 board meeting. St. Marys Superintendent Shawn Brown on Friday morning confirmed that Frye’s recommendation would appear on next week’s board of education agenda.
The gears began turning on the Frye-to-St. Marys reunion on Thursday afternoon, as Frye informed the Wapakoneta team at an afternoon meeting that he would be stepping down.
Frye said he started his discussion with the team and coaches using a saying his wife had used in the past: “Don’t cry because it’s over; smile because it happened.”
“I told them what a great four years,” Frye said. “I thought they were set up in the Wapakoneta program for future success. I thought they would continue to be successful.”
Frye now is set to return to St. Marys, where he coached for 11 seasons with an 89-35 record, three Western Buckeye League championships and seven playoff appearances — including the 2004 Division III state runner-up.
Frye and the Roughriders went 9-3 in 2008, won a share of the WBL title and won a first-round playoff game before bowing out to Big Walnut in a regional semifinal game.
From those heights, St. Marys’ fall from the ranks of the WBL’s best since was precipitous. Nine seasons after playing in the state championship game, the Roughriders are mired in a 21-game losing streak that dates back to Week 10 of the 2011 season.
St. Marys won five of its first seven games under new coach Mark Hollars in 2009, only to lose the final three contests of that season. After winning the 2010 season opener against Sidney, the Roughriders lost the final nine games. Hollars resigned after the season.
Greg Phillips piloted the Roughriders for three seasons, winning four his first six games. St. Marys finished the 2011 season 4-6 and lost their next 20 games under Phillips in back-to-back 0-10 campaigns.
Frye’s stay in Wapakoneta was brief but fruitful.
Frye led Wapakoneta to a 33-10 record in four seasons with two playoff appearances and a first round playoff win in 2011. Wapakoneta finished second in the WBL twice under Frye in 2011 and 2013.
“Everyone has been tremendous throughout the process. When I was hired they asked me to come in and turn around a struggling program. They asked me how long I could coach. I said three to five years, and we’ll see after that. We’re in between right now. Everyone in the community, the school system, the kids, everyone involved has been tremendous and I want to thank them for their support. It’s been a great experience.”
Frye molded a moribund Wapakoneta program, which went 1-9 in 2009, into a physical, discplined squad immediately. The Redskins scored 29 or more points per game and gave up fewer than 20 points in all four seasons under Frye.
His final game as head coach of the Redskins was a 41-34 overtime loss to Springfield Shawnee back on Nov. 8 in a home playoff game.
Wapakoneta Superintendent Keith Horner knew this day was coming soon, as Frye said when hired for the position he could give 3-5 years to the program.
“Obviously, we’re a little surprised,” Horner said. “Talking to him the past couple years, we knew maybe he had only one or two years left, based on where his personal goals were. Maybe we’re surprised it happened now, but I wasn’t 100 percent shocked.”
— Wapakoneta Daily News Sports Editor Brad Frank contributed to this story.
The Frye File
Wapakoneta under Frye:
2013 9-2 Playoffs
2011 10-2 Playoffs
St. Marys under Frye:
2008 9-3 WBL Co-Champs. Playoffs
2006 9-3 Playoffs
2004 13-2 WBL Co-Champs, State Runner Up
2003 9-2 WBL Champs
2002 8-4 Playoffs
2001 9-2 Playoffs
2000 7-4 Playoffs