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Dec. 9, 2013

A week away from the U.S. Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Association Hall of Fame (USTFCCCA) induction ceremony for South Carolina track & field head coach Curtis Frye, takes a closer look at the steps of Frye’s career that led him to South Carolina.

A 39-year-and-counting coaching career begins at East Carolina University.

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Influenced and supported by an endless amount of people throughout his life, Curtis Frye has climbed to the top of the ranks of track and field at every level. After graduating from Union Pines High School and attending Sandhills Community College, Frye went on to continue his schooling at East Carolina University. While there, his distinguished coaching career began.

East Carolina Chancellor Leo Jenkins hired Frye in 1974 to be the director of facilities and gave Frye his first coaching job, handing him the keys to the men’s soccer team. The first-time coach learned on the job as he watched the first soccer game of his life from the sidelines as head coach.

Frye’s track and field coaching career began at ECU as well, serving as an assistant coach. His time at ECU brought Frye and long-time Pirate head track and field coach Bill Carson together; it was the beginning of a life-long mentorship and friendship. Frye credits Carson, his “daddy in coaching”, and Carson’s wife Ruth Ann for getting him through ECU and for teaching him how to be a coach and a family man.

Legendary football coach Pat Dye began his tenure as ECU’s head football coach the same year as Frye’s stint as a Pirate began. Dye helped show Frye the ropes of recruiting. Shortly after, the guidance paid off as the young track coach signed his first top-rated athlete in Carter Ray Suggs.

Suggs helped the Pirates win three Southern Conference track and field titles during his four-year career. During his freshman season, Suggs won five events at the conference championships and was named MVP of both the indoor and outdoor championship meets. This fall, the sprinter was inducted into the Pirate Hall of Fame.

During Frye’s time with ECU, the program saw its first student-athletes garner All-America honors. They would be the first of hundreds over the course of Frye’s career.

Shortly after getting on board at ECU, the coach signed his greatest recruit, his wife Wilma. Recently, the pair celebrated their 39th wedding anniversary. In total, they have been together for over 45 years.

After five years as a Pirate and his first taste of collegiate track and field, Frye made his next move, taking a job at Douglas Byrd High School in Fayetteville, N.C. The connections he made and the opportunities he had during his time at ECU laid the foundation for his extraordinary career.

Frye is one of six coaches who will be inducted into the U.S. Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Association Hall of Fame (USTFCCCA) on Mon., Dec. 16, in Orlando, Fla. Started in 1995, the USTFCCCA Coaches Hall of Fame exists to recognize coaches who have brought great distinction to themselves, to their institutions and to the sports of cross country & track & field. Each of the honorees exemplifies the qualities of dedication to the sport, leadership and passion for their profession that serve as an inspiration to coaches everywhere in the sport.

Frye joins Weemie “Weems” Baskin as one of two Gamecocks included in the USTFCCCA Hall of Fame. Baskin was the track & field head coach at the University of South Carolina from 1948-69 and the University’s outdoor track is named in his honor.

For more information on the USTFCCCA’s Hall of Fame and the Class of 2013, click here.