Saturday, June 18th, 2022
Frye, Meyer to be inducted into OHSFCA Hall of Fame
By Tom Haines
Retired football coaches Doug Frye of St. Marys and Ken Meyer of Marion Local were announced Friday as members of the 2023 Hall of Fame class for the Ohio High School Football Coaches Association.
Frye, who turned the reins over to his son Bo in April 2021, went 234-123 over 34 years of coaching, including a 147-55 record over two stints with the Roughriders. Friday afternoon, shortly before the official announcement, he was informed of his OHSFCA induction.
When he retired, almost the entirety of Frye's coaching staff was made up of his former players, including Bo and younger son Koby.
"I've had a tremendous group of people, great people to work with throughout the years," Frye said. "Kids, coaches, support staff, from the administration and the community, so that makes the job much, much easier.
"That's extremely important, but just as important if not more is the wife that I've had for 42 years and the family that we have. Coaching demands a lot of time. If you have a supportive family and a supportive wife, it certainly makes the job more enjoyable and makes the job a lot more accomplishable."
Five years after the retirement of legendary coach Skip Baughman, Frye took over at St. Marys and carried on the Roughriders' winning ways, with three WBL titles and a trip to the state championship game in 2004.
After a brief retirement to watch his sons play college football, he spent three years as the coach at Wapakoneta, then returned to St. Marys, which had fallen on hard times and was riding a 21-game losing streak.
In Frye's first game back, when the Roughriders beat Sidney - coached by former player Adam Doenges - Frye noticed some of his players in tears on the bench and turned to his assistants for an explanation.
"I said, 'What's up, guys? I mean, it's only the opening game,'" he recalled. "They said, 'Coach, they've never won a high school game.'
"It kind of puts it in perspective. Those kids were appreciative, and we got it going in the right direction again. So that, to me, was one of the most satisfying moments of my coaching career."
Meyer, a Minster native, graduated from the University of Findlay (then Findlay College) as a two-year letterwinner in 1974. He was named to the Minster Hall of Fame in 2014 and the Findlay Hall in 2015, and on Monday, he got the call from the OHSFCA.
"This is special," Meyer said. "This is the pinnacle of it all, the Ohio High School Football Coaches Association. Humbled. Humbled. I didn't expect it."
Four years after Meyer graduated college, superintendent Ralph Stelzer offered him a job as a coach and teacher up in Maria Stein.
"He handed me the books to go to class and said, 'Your classroom's down there, good luck,'" Meyer said. "But I ended up at Marion for 35 years and I loved it. Marion was an awesome community to teach and coach in."
Meyer went on to coach 19 years, finishing with a record of 121-70-2. In 1981, the Flyers became the first football team from the Midwest Athletic Conference or from Mercer County to reach the state playoffs, beating Tiffin Calvert for the regional championship before losing in the final four to Newark Catholic.
Meyer went on to make the playoffs three more times, with four MAC titles under his belt - no small feat, as he had 9-1 teams that finished second.
Looking back, Meyer calculated that he would have made the playoffs 10 more times under the eight-team regional system, which was expanded to 16 last year. Having seen the community rally around his playoff teams, Meyer voted for every playoff expansion that was proposed when he was a coach.
"It really does benefit the community," he said. "Draws a lot of excitement, and you just never know. That eighth-place team could win a state title… the first couple games can be a bit lopsided, but I'm glad it's happening."
Meyer departed as coach after the 1996 season. In 1999, Tim Goodwin took over at Marion and started a run of dominance, winning 12 state titles in 24 seasons.
Meyer spent 10 more years as a teacher and a bus driver at Marion and made a brief return as an advisor to Minster coach Nate Moore, helping the Wildcats return to the playoffs for the first time in 10 years before leaving coaching for good.
Meyer and Frye join eight other OHSFCA Hall of Famers who coached area teams: Baughman; Tim Boeckman (St. Henry), John Reed (Parkway, Coldwater); Chip Otten (Coldwater); James Whittington (Parkway); David Hansbarger (Parkway); Whit Parks (Minster) and Mike Fell (Celina).
The 2023 class will be inducted at a banquet the first week of June in 2023.