Coaching Excellence: The Frost Legacy
- 21 March 2014 by Author 0 Comments
Coaching Excellence: The Frost Legacy
By Richard Larsen
Published – Idaho State Journal, 03/16/14
A week ago, the Highland Rams boy’s basketball team was playing for the State 5A Consolation bracket championship against district foe, Skyline. The atmosphere in the Columbia High School gym in Nampa was filled with emotion, not only because head coach Chris Frost had his charges ready for the rematch, but because of the sense of emptiness among team members at the loss of one of their own. It had been, after all, just a week earlier that Keegan Parrish had tragically and prematurely left his teammates, and mortality, with three members of his family.
Frost’s team won that game, 53-45, undoubtedly with mixed emotion; grateful for the win, but saddened that number 13 on the freshman team, Keegan Parrish, couldn’t bask in the victory with them.
About the same time that the Rams were polishing off the Skyline Grizzlies, another team was gearing up for the State 4A Championship game. The Twin Falls Bruins were to face Pocatello’s Century Diamondbacks in the Ford Idaho Center in Nampa. The 2nd ranked Bruins came into the contest full of confidence after dispatching the 1st ranked Bonneville Bees, 58-50, in overtime a day earlier. Their confidence was rewarded with a solid 46-29 victory over the Diamondbacks.
Different teams, different schools, different brackets, and different venues. But they have a common denominator; each team has a Coach Frost. Chris Frost, longtime head basketball coach for the Rams, is father to Ryan Frost, assistant basketball coach for the Twin Falls Bruins. Even more impressive, perhaps, is the fact that both Coach Frosts serve as Defensive Coordinators for their respective high school football teams.
The senior Frost has been at the helm of the Highland basketball team for 25 years. Chris grew up in Pocatello and was a student at Highland. While a student, he was a standout athlete in football, basketball, baseball, and track. On the basketball court, he played for back-to-back state runner up teams, and on the gridiron played for two state championship teams.
After high school Chris became a Vandal, accepting a full-ride scholarship to play football for the University of Idaho. He was recruited as a running back, but spent most of his time on defense as a linebacker and a safety. I’ve razzed him about wearing a UI sweatshirt in Bengal country, but his sense of loyalty to his alma mater is to be respected.
He credits much of his success as a coach to having seen programs run and coached by some of the best in the business. Jim, Dirk, and Brent Koetter as well as current head coach Gino Mariani in football, and Ron Kress and Don Cotant in basketball.
Coach Ryan Frost is following in his father’s footsteps. As much as he loves sports, he always considered himself a student before a student athlete. He was a good student at Highland, but admits he could’ve done much better (as could we all!) and graduated in 2002. He excelled at math, and earned his Math Endorsement at Idaho State University by the time he graduated with majors in Secondary Education and Physical Education.
As a student athlete, Ryan excelled on the gridiron. For the region, he was named Defensive MVP, named to the All State Team as linebacker, and is second in all time career tackles at Highland. He always downplays his prowess in basketball, but anyone who’s seen him play knows differently. And his success with the basketball coaching staff at Twin Falls certainly attests to his comprehension and aptitude with the sport.
Ryan has said of his years being coached by his father in basketball and football that it was a rewarding challenge. Far from showing any preferential treatment, Coach Frost expected the best from his son, perhaps even demanded it. But the results are impossible to argue with. Ryan is now an accomplished coach in his own right; a respected and capable teacher, and a loving and nurturing father and husband. One can only assume that the demands coach Frost made on his son contributed to making him the man he is today.
Ryan continued playing football after matriculation at ISU, and was on the 2003 Bengal squad that last won the Big Sky Conference championship. He excelled in the classroom as he was included on the Dean’s List every year before graduating in 2008.
After graduation from ISU, he was hired at Twin Falls as a math teacher, an assistant basketball coach, and a linebacker coach for the football team. He quickly established himself as a quality asset in each capacity, but his skills and ability have perhaps been most recognized as a football coach, as he has rapidly advanced to Defensive Coordinator where he has led the entire defensive team for the past two years. Head Coach Allyn Reynolds says that Coach Frost, “Has kept things sound and simple,” making it easier for the players to do their job as a unit. And his results speak for themselves, as the Bruins have held opposing teams to an average of just sixteen points per game. He’s so highly regarded by the other coaches in his region that he was selected Assistant Coach of the Year last season.
At Twin Falls High School for the past six years, Ryan, his wife Amanda (my daughter) and their two children, Claire and Max (3 and 2 years of age) have made their mark. They fit comfortably with their community, faculty and staff of the high school, and even have some friends at cross-town rival and startup high school, Canyon Ridge. They have made some wonderful, life-long friends in the Twin Falls area.
Ryan is comfortable with where he is professionally at TFHS, which is distinguished from Canyon Ridge by referring to it as “Old School,” having been founded in 1907. But as much as he loves his team and the school, one can’t help but wonder at the possibilities of perpetuating the Frost legacy and tradition if he were to ever come back home to Highland. The Chris Frost legacy is established, and continues each year with success on the gridiron and the court. But the prospect of perpetuating that tradition of success with a younger iteration is more than tantalizing.
One thing can be sure with both Frosts. Whether in the classroom, in the weight room, on the field, or on the court; parents and patrons have come to expect excellence from their teaching, instruction, coaching, mentoring, and leadership. And they deliver. The Frost tradition is expanding.
Associated Press award winning columnist Richard Larsen is President of Larsen Financial, a brokerage and financial planning firm in Pocatello, Idaho and is a graduate of Idaho State University with degrees in Political Science and History and coursework completed toward a Master’s in Public Administration. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.