For a first-year head coach, it is always beneficial to have a veteran assistant coach on staff to help guide and answer any questions might have.
Especially, when they don’t know how the season is going to play out due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
For Walters State women’s basketball interim coach Jasmin Coleman, she has done just that.
Coleman has added former Walters State player and Chuckey-Doak girls basketball coach and athletic director Beth Frye to her coaching staff as top assistant for the 2020-2021 basketball season.
“I am extremely excited about the addition of coach Frye,” Coleman said. “Her invaluable experience both on and off the court will help with recruiting, player development, scouting and community relations. She is a former Lady Senator who understands the traditions and standards of the program. I am looking forward to working with her and seeing what we will accomplish together.”
Frye comes to Walters State from Chuckey-Doak where she has been the girls basketball coach since 2000. Frye has also been the athletic director since 2016 and, during her time there, has served as volleyball coach, assistant softball coach and started the cross-country teams at both Chuckey-Doak High School and Chuckey-Doak Middle School.
Frye is also an alumnus of Chuckey-Doak and began her teaching and coaching career at Glenwood Elementary. However, when she got the call to come home to Walters State, she couldn’t pass up the opportunity.
“It was a difficult decision,” Frye said. “It’s kind of bittersweet. I do have a love for Chuckey-Doak, it’s home. But I played at Walters State and have maintained my relationship with coach (Dave) Kragel and coach Coleman through all my years of coaching. They have been very helpful with anything I’ve needed. When I attended Walters State, it felt like home. So, I’m just leaving one home and going back to the other.”
Frye has two daughters, Karly, who played basketball at Walters State, and Kaitlyn. Along with coaching at Chuckey-Doak, Frye has coached on the elementary level as well as the AAU level. She’s been in teaching for 35 years, teaching PE. Her husband, George, is an educator in the Greene County school system.
Frye steps into a big role at Walters State as she helps Coleman replace Dave Kragel, who retired at the end of the 2019-2020 season after 43 years as head coach.
“I’m not sure that anyone can replace Coach Kragel,” Frye said. “He has built such a tradition and legacy there. I think our hopes are to maintain that level and that culture that he has cultivated through the years. Just that feeling that Walters State is home. We want to develop those relationships with the players and help them move to the next level if that is what they want. Especially in these times, we don’t know what the future holds. That will be a challenge in it of itself.”
It is an unprecedented time across the country with COVID-19 cases still on the rise. For right now, Walters State is scheduled to begin their season in mid-January after the NJCAA pushed back the start of basketball season by two months.
“I think that you just have to take advantage of the times that we are allowed to have practice and be with the team and just do what we can to cultivate the team bonding and feeling and try to be positive and keep the interest of the players while we’re there in hopes of playing in January,” Frye said.
With the guidelines by the NJCAA in place, Walters State will be permitted 60 consecutive days for practice and scrimmages from September 15, 2020 – December 15, 2020. During that time, the team is allowed to schedule up to five scrimmage dates in total for the year, with a maximum of two scrimmage dates allowed in the spring. Each scrimmage is limited to no more than two outside opponents.
Competition is scheduled to start on January 22, 2021 after an 11-day practice period starting on January 11, 2021.
“Walters State athletics and our women’s basketball program are very excited about the addition of Coach Frye to our staff,” Walters State athletic director Derek Creech said. “Coach Frye is a former Lady Senator who has been an outstanding coach and athletic director for many years in the community. Coach Frye understands our women’s program and will be an asset and mentor to our student athletes.”