Doug Frye awoke quite early Thursday morning, as the varsity football coach at Wapakoneta High School was anxious about being able to return to coaching after a mandated break from school activities following his retirement from teaching. Frye had been away since June 1. He was later rehired by the school district in late June.
Frye said he set his alarm to awake at 4:50 a.m. Thursday in advance of his team’s morning weightlifting and conditioning session, but his anticipation about returning was overwhelming.
“I was anxious. I started to toss and turn around 1:30 and decided to wake up at 2:30,” Frye said. “I realized driving through McDonald’s at 3 a.m. or a little before that there aren’t really a whole lot of people out at that time.”
Frye said he arrived at the school at 3:15 a.m. and got busy catching up on getting his team organized.
“Starting at 7 a.m., I had the kids line up, I shook each of their hands and talked to them for a while about their roles this season,” Frye said Thursday. “Because of the work of our coaches and, really, mainly our two coordinators, Shane Patterson and Bo Frye, the transition was pretty smooth, because the kids were ready to get going when I got back.
“It’s been a good day. It was fun.”
Bo Frye was in charge of the football program in his father’s absence.
The team will meet again today in advance of its official start of practice Monday, when the Redskins will begin their first two-a-day practice of the summer.
Frye explained what excited him most about returning to coaching.
“It wasn’t getting up that early, because I’m kinda tired now,” Frye said Thursday night. “You do this, though, because you love coaching kids and being part of the challenge. You just like to help mentor kids and help them become better. It was just being part of that whole environment.”
Frye, who is starting his fourth season at Wapak, discussed his players’ feedback upon his return and how it impacted them.
“I think everyone was excited. They knew it was a sign of moving to the next level,” Frye said. “It wasn’t ideal. I wish it was a couple weeks ago. It would have helped a little more for me to be there. In all honesty it might have set us back a little.”
For its two preseason scrimmages, Wapak will visit Findlay to play Findlay and Tiffin Columbian starting at 10 a.m. Aug. 17, and then host Minster beginning at 7:30 p.m. Aug. 23.
Frye described his team’s status heading into the final few weeks of the preseason.
“Of all the years I’ve been here, we’re as strong as and as conditioned as any team I’ve had,” Frye said. “Our coaches did a good job. Now it’s up to me to lead. We have some challenges. We’re a very young team in the skill areas. From that standpoint, we have a lot work to do.
“Our kids are very hard workers and extremely coachable, so I have confidence we’ll make a great deal of progress in the next three weeks,” he said.
Wapak will host Bellefontaine at 7:30 p.m. Aug. 30 in the regular season opener.