Chapter 135

Centre College Football Today and Coach Andy Frye

Coach Andy Frye

Andy Frye, the all-time winningest coach in Centre history, has been the head football coach of the Colonels since the 1998 season. Since that time, Centre has become one of the most respected football programs in all of Division III.

Just as Centre's football program thrived a century ago due to the support of William A. Ganfield, president of the college ( 1915-1921 ) and a dedicated and skillful head coach in Uncle Charlie Moran, Centre has been fortunate to have had Dr. John Roush           ( 1998-2020 ) and Dr. Milton Moreland ( 2020- )  as presidents and Andy Frye as head coach during the college's second "Golden Age" of college football preeminence.  

President Roush's leadership during his tenure paralleled Centre's establishment as one of the more successful football programs in the country. Admittedly, Centre doesn't now go out and defeat national powers as it once did, but if success is measured by the influence that a program has on those who participate both on and off the field, as it did in the post-World War I years and does now, Centre once again has reached renown for its accomplishments. 

In 2012, Centre became a founding member of the Southern Athletic Association ( SAA ) which is comprised of 8 private, small colleges in the South. Prior to 2012, Centre had been a member of the Southern Collegiate Athletic Conference ( SCAC ) which was founded in 1962.

The SAA members are ( 1 ) Centre College- Danville, Kentucky
                                          ( 2 ) Birmingham-Southern College- Birmingham, Alabama
                                          ( 3 ) Hendrix College- Conway, Arkansas
                                          ( 4 ) Millsaps College- Jackson, Mississippi
                                          ( 5 ) Oglethorpe College- Atlanta, Georgia
                                          ( 6 ) Berry College- Mount Berry, Georgia
                                          ( 7 ) Rhodes College- Memphis, Tennessee
                                          ( 8 ) University of the South ( Sewanee )- Sewanee, Tennessee

Six-state location of SAA members

Through 2023, Coach Frye has a 172-85 career record, becoming Centre’s all-time leader in coaching victories with a 34-7 triumph over Defiance on September 13, 2014. With the win, Frye surpassed his predecessor and 2002 Centre Hall of Fame inductee Joe McDaniel ( 1934-2020 ) who compiled an excellent 101-63-3 record from 1980-1997.

Over the last ten seasons, Frye’s program has put together a stellar 72-25 mark, including the school’s first Southern Athletic Association title and 16th conference championship overall in 2014, and another in 2018. Centre finished with a 10-1 ledger during that historic ’14 campaign, tying a school record for most victories in a season. The Colonels achieved a perfect 10-0 mark in the regular season, their first undefeated regular season since the 1955 campaign, and qualified for the NCAA Division III Playoffs for the second time under Frye who was named the SAA Coach of the Year.

The 2018 squad had a 10-2 overall record, reaching the NCAA Division III Playoffs for the third time in his tenure. The Colonels soundly beat 14th-ranked Washington & Jefferson, 54-13, in the opening-round game at Farris Stadium to reach the "Sweet 16."

The Colonels also earned an at-large bid to the NCAA postseason under Frye in 2011, defeating Hampden-Sydney by a score of 51-41 in the first round, before falling to perennial power and eventual NCAA runner-up Mount Union in the second round. Centre finished with a 9-2 record that season, with its only other loss coming at the hands of another NCAA qualifier in Trinity (Texas). In 2003, the Colonels captured the Southern Collegiate Athletic Conference ( SCAC ) crown, earning the 15th conference championship in the school's history.

Since taking over in 1998, Frye has coached nine All-Americans, 98 first-team All-Conference selections and 15 Conference Player of the Year honorees with Armon Wells being named the SAA Defensive Player of the Year in 2022. In 2023, fifth-year defensive end Dallas Douglas was Centre's lone selection on the All-SAA first team after a career year in which he led the Colonels with 11 tackles for loss and 5 sacks. He also recovered a pair of fumbles and scored his first touchdown on an interception return against Sewanee.   

Armon Wells, 2022 Defensive SAA Player of the Year

Under Frye, the Colonels have established a program rich in tradition and success. A strong alumni base and community support has helped the Colonels challenge for conference titles on a consistent basis over the past several years. Coach Frye is passionate about developing a program that stands for integrity and social development of the young men in his charge. 

Frye takes as much pride in developing the morale of his team as he does the physical abilities. “When all things are equal, the team with the best morale most times will win the battle,” Frye said.

In this regard, Frye's approach closely resembles that taken by Uncle Charlie Moran and Chief Myers who constantly stressed the mental preparation necessary for a successful program during Centre's great run from 1917-1924. 

A native of Westerville, Ohio, he served as the associate head coach and defensive coordinator at Centre prior to being named head coach in 1998. Frye came to Centre in 1989 from his alma mater Muskingum College.

Frye’s goal is to continue building Centre football to national prominence, also the goal of the Centre administration and coaching staff a century ago.

“I want our program to reflect those values and virtues necessary in sustaining a successful program. Excellence is a process; here at Centre it is pursued with great force and passion. We are seeking student-athletes who wish to meet this challenge. The student-athletes who participate in our program are highly motivated students who want to excel at a challenging institution as well as compete for a football program that has had a rich tradition of success.

Our program’s goals for players are twofold: one, develop their athletic skills and talents to their fullest; and two, encourage and maximize their character and abilities as men. Our program’s team goal is to win the Southern Athletic Association title and secure a bid to the NCAA National Championship.

We offer a top-50 national liberal arts institution, a rich football tradition, and a program that is aggressively establishing Centre as a premier small college football team."

In a ceremony in Louisville on August 3, 2022, it was announced that the new football stadium for Centre will be named Andy Frye Stadium, a fitting recognition for what Coach Frye has meant to the college and to the hundreds of young men who have been in the Colonels' program during his 26-year tenure as head coach.

Centre's Director of Athletics, Brad Fields, Centre '98, spoke appropriately during the ceremony when he stated, "Andy Frye embodies everything that is right with college athletics. His commitment to Centre College and the passion that he has for the true holistic development of the young men who come through the Centre football program is unparalleled."

An honor well-deserved!

Married for more than 40 years, Coach Frye and his wife Cindy live in Danville and have two children. Frye’s daughter Courtney, a 2008 Centre graduate, is married to Eric Carter and has 4 children, Lincoln, Eden Belle, Samuel, and Hazel Blanton. Frye’s son Nathan, who played football at Centre, graduated in 2011 and married Jenny Johnson. They have a daughter, Finley. 

Coach Andy Frye who has overseen Centre football's second "Golden Age"

Centre College - 2021

Centre College - 1921