Passing on the knowledge

From former NFL quarterback to AU wide receivers coach

Charlie Frye in 2006 playing for the Cleveland Browns

PHOTO USED WITH PERMISSION FROM THE TOLEDO BLADE

Charlie Frye in 2006 playing for the Cleveland Browns

Zach Read, MANAGING EDITOR OF THE COLLEGIAN

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In 1981, Charlie Frye was born in Willard, Ohio, just forty-five minutes northwest of Ashland. Jump ahead to 2001 and Frye found himself playing college football at the University of Akron as a four year starter for the Zips just an hour northeast of Ashland.

In 2005, Frye was a third round draft pick (67th overall) selected by the Cleveland Browns in which he would play three seasons for them just an hour north of Ashland.

Skip ahead thirteen years later, and Frye steps foot on the campus of Ashland University, this time as the volunteer wide receivers coach for the Ashland University football team.

“It feels good, I’m excited to be back,” Frye said. “I’m just trying to pass on the things I learned, through my time playing and being around really good coaches.”

Frye started his playing career at Willard high school in Ohio where he broke 17 of the school’s all-time football records. In his senior season Frye won the Northwest District Player of the Year award and led his team to a 10-2 season.

After high school, Frye left Willard to play at the University of Akron for former head coach Lee Owens, who is now in his 15th season as head coach with the Ashland Eagles. Also on Owen’s Akron staff at the time was current Eagles associate head coach/offensive line coach/run game coordinator Doug Geiser and quarterbacks coach/passing game coordinator/junior varsity coach Tom Stacy.

During his time at Akron, Frye played in 46 games, threw for 11,049 yards and 64 touchdowns with a completion percentage of 63.6. Frye broke the Akron football record for these three categories and 51 other categories during his collegiate career.

“For me it’s really been good because Charlie and I have always been on the same page offensively and he knows what I’m thinking and I know what he’s thinking,” Owens said.

After playing for Akron, Frye’s NFL career consisted of five seasons playing for the Cleveland Browns, Seattle Seahawks, and Oakland Raiders. During that time Frye played in 26 games, starting 23 of those, and throwing for a total of 4,154 yards in his professional career.

Frye said that some of the teams he was on the wide receivers and quarterbacks had meetings in the same room, so he was able to to pick up a lot just from hanging around those NFL wide receivers.

After Frye’s NFL career ended earlier than expected due to injuries and surgeries in 2010, Frye turned to coaching which began as a high school offensive coordinator in Florida. He was also a quarterbacks coach at Nike Elite 11 and most recently served as the Director of Player Development and Mental Conditioning at the University of Florida.

“My first love as a kid was playing football and I told myself when I was done playing that I would never get into coaching, but it draws you right back in,” Frye said.

For the players on the field, they are excited to have Frye around as a coach.

“He jumps in and talks to us pretty much every day, he jumps in with the quarterbacks, wide receivers, tight ends, pretty much anyone on the offense to give us his piece of knowledge,” Ashland tight end Michael Schweitzer said.

For Frye, he’s just trying to give back some of the knowledge that he learned through his playing days.

“There were certain guys that I played for that were able to advance me and make the game easier, and I want to give that back,” Frye said. “If I can help another kid then it’s all worth it for me.”

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