Since day one of his 17 year-and-counting career at South Carolina, Curtis Frye has guided a perennially contending Gamecocks track & field program to success at both the national and conference level. Right out of the chutes, Frye, a sprints and hurdles specialist, built up the women’s program to an NCAA outdoor team title in 2002 and a runner-up finish in 2005 among 10 straight top-10 NCAA finishes to start his tenure in Columbia.
That 2002 championship team claimed three NCAA event titles, part of an astounding seven total first-place national finalists between the men’s and women’s teams both indoors and outdoors. Frye’s 2000 program was nearly as prolific, capturing a combined six individual and relay titles. Both years are illustrative of the high-level performance demonstrated particularly during Frye’s first 11 seasons, as the Gamecocks claimed at least two individual or relay crowns in nine of those years.
Indoors, his women’s squads have finished in the top 10 at the NCAA Championships 10 times, including three runner-up finishes in four tries in 2000, 2001 and 2003. Individually, he has coached five national athletes of the year: Lashinda Demus in 2002 was bestowed the honor from Track & Field News, while Natasha Hastings (2007 overall), Demetria Washington (2002 indoor), Terrence Trammell (2000 outdoor) and Miki Barber (2000 outdoor) were all honored by the USTFCCCA.
In total, he has coached or overseen 31 individual NCAA champions and nine champion relay teams — at least one student-athlete claiming a national title in all but three years — 115 SEC champions and 435 NCAA All-Americans.
South Carolina’s national prominence extended down the conference level, as the women have won the outdoor SEC title three times (1999, 2002, 2005) and have finished in the top three fifteen times, while the men have finished top five 11 times between the indoor and outdoor seasons. He has coached or overseen at least one SEC champion in all but two years at South Carolina, and 12 of his student-athletes have been named SEC Athletes of the Year.
His student-athletes have also gone on to garner great success on the world stage with nine medal winners, including two-time sprint hurdles silver medalist Trammell, among 19 Olympians. Four former volunteer coaches have also claimed Olympic medals.
For his accomplishments, Frye has been recognized on the national level numerous times. He is a three time National Coach of the Year (1999, 2002 women’s outdoor/1999 men’s indoor); the Nike Coach of the Year in 2001 and the USOC Track & Field Coach of the Year in 1997. In addition he has been named the SEC Coach of the Year three teams (women’s 1999, 2002 and 2005).
He has also been a champion of the sport in general, serving multiple posts in the USTFCCCA including President of the Board of Directors from 2009 to 2011.
Prior to his days at South Carolina, he was an assistant at North Carolina for four years under fellow 2013 inductee Dennis Craddock. Before that, he spent four years as an assistant at Florida from following a five-year stint at NC State as an assistant.
His coaching career began at East Carolina where he served as both a track & field assistant and the men’s soccer head coach simultaneously for five years from 1974-75 to 1978-79. In between his time at East Carolina and NC State he served as the head coach at Douglas Byrd (N.C.) High School.