Fast-forward 22 years, four institutions and one Olympian later, Frye is now a wildly successful head coach for the track and field at the University of South Carolina and the first African American head coach in any sport at USC.
But success didn’t always come easy. Frye always dreamed of bringing the University its first national championship.
Frye believes his mother instilled in him at a young age the importance of hard work.
“Being first is something my mama planted in us,” said Frye. “Not because of your size, not because of your color, and not because of your gender. I believe you can work hard enough that people will need what you have, a service that you give.”
Frye continues to live by that standard to ensure his athletes know he’s committed to the program.
“The reason I stay at USC is because I know North Carolina and South Carolina,” explained Frye. “I am a family guy. My mother lives two hours from me and my wife’s mother is two hours. My grandchildren even live in Greenville and Spartanburg. My church is my family. I stay for my faith and my family.”
“I think I have a greater impact where I am known,” exclaimed Frye. “I’ve had the opportunity to leave, but I stay where I am seen and known because it keeps me doing the right thing. When I go to a bar, I won’t over-drink, because someone there always knows me.”
Frye believes your character is not always revealed by what people see.
“My character is revealed when I hold myself accountable to my family, faith and friends,” said Frye. “I live up to expectations. My mother’s expectations of me, my pastor’s expectations of me, my wife’s expectations of me and my children’s expectations of me. If not, I would let myself down.”
People should care what others think of them, stated Frye.
“I truly care. I think everyone in society should care. Care about me and I will care about you.”
Through decades of coaching, Frye remains that with so many people in a student’s life, the important mission remains the same: You have to drive people.
Fryes' program has allowed him to coach or oversee over 60 NCAA champions, 117 SEC champions, 16 Academic All-Americans and more than 460 NCAA All-Americans. In his career, Frye has coached 28 Olympians who have garnered 14 medals at the Olympic Games.