Aaron Frey receives national baseball honor
After being named the Coach of the Year for the 2019 season by both Sports in Kansas and the Kansas Association of Baseball Coaches, Sabetha’s head baseball coach – Aaron Frey – has received an even higher honor. Frey was named High School Division III National Coach of the Year by American Baseball Coaches Association and Diamond Sports.
In addition to this award, Frey also was named one of eight 2019 ABCA/Diamond Sports High School Division III Regional Coaches of the Year.
Sabetha Athletic Director Scott Burger said that Frey is deserving of this award because he “connects” with his team.
“Aaron loves the game. He connects well with his players and he really emphasizes his players doing all the little things that make good teams become great teams,” Burger said.
While Frey is the recipient of this prestigious award, he said it is a team award.
“It’s very humbling to receive an award like this, but the reason for this award is because of the success of our team,” Frey said. “I feel like this is a team and staff award. One part doesn’t work without the other parts.”
Frey credits the success of the team to Sabetha’s athletic teams building a “culture” of playing as a team.
“I can’t give enough credit to our players, and Coach [Doug] Garrett and Coach [Garrett] Michael,” Frey said.
Burger agreed, saying Frey is surrounded by great assistants and players.
“He’s surrounded by great assistants who have the same passion that he does,” he said, “And for a coach to be given an award, he has to be blessed with great players. We’ve had a run of very talented athletes go through our school, and our coaching staff will be the first to admit that they are not only gifted athletically, but great young men. They are unselfish and they place team goals ahead of individual ones.”
Initially, Frey along with seven other coaches from across the nation were named 2019 ABCA/Diamond High School Division III Regional Coaches of the Year. Frey was then chosen out of the eight to be the National recipient for High School Division III. The other coaches being named as High School Division III Regional Coaches of the Year were Ed Holloway, Bishop Hendricken, R.I.; Christopher Sommerhalter, Emerson, N.J.;Daniel Little, Landrum, S.C.; Dave Pishkur, Andrean, Ind.; John Parker, Ouachita Christian, La.; Casey Miller, University, Colo.; and David Lawrence, Dunn, Calif.
The other 10 coaches who were named 2019 ABCA/Diamond National Coaches of the Year were Tim Corbin, Vanderbilt, Tenn., NCAA Division I; Joe Urso, Tampa, Fla., NCAA Division II; Scott Laverty, Champan, Calif., NCAA Division III; Billy Berry, Tennessee Wesleyan, NAIA; Anthony Gilich, Central Arizona, NJCAA Division I; Raydon Leaton, Northern Oklahoma-Enid, NJCAA Division II; Keith Gorman, Cumberland County, N.J., NJCAA Division III; John Altobelli, Orange Coast, Calif., Pacific Assoc. Division; Chan Brown, Parkview, Ga., High School Division I; and Ricky Griffin, Argyle, Texas, High School Division II.
Sabetha’s first season of Bluejay baseball started in the spring of 2017. When Frey learned that Sabetha would be introducing baseball into Bluejay Athletics during the 2016-17 school year, he said the time just seemed right for his family to move back to Sabetha.
“The time just seemed right to come back to Sabetha,” Frey said. “We had been away for 15 years and the timing with where our kids were in school and Sabetha getting baseball just seemed to work out perfect. I believe is was definitely the Lord opening doors for us to come back. I want to thank Coach Burger for giving me this opportunity and hiring me.”
In just its second season, the Bluejays earned the 2018 State Championship, then followed that up with the 2019 State Championship.
Although the two State Championships will be unforgettable, Frey said, the best thing about coaching at Sabetha is the players’ responsiveness.
“The State Championships are definitely something that I will never forget,” Frey said. “But the best thing about coaching in Sabetha for the last three years has been the players’ responsiveness to wanting to get better every day and putting the team in front of themselves. Our goal every day is to get better and our teams have done that. Lots of teams have a goal of putting the team in front of themselves, but our kids actually do it! I think that has been the single biggest reason why we have been successful.”
Frey extended a thank you to those who have helped in the success of the Bluejay teams.
“I want to thank the Keims – Stan and Donna,” he said. “Without them, Sabetha wouldn’t have high school baseball. What they do for the kids of Sabetha is unbelievable! Our Legion program with Paul Herl and Stan [Keim], and the rest of the coaches laid a tremendous foundation for Sabetha High School baseball. They work hard with the kids in the summers and put in a lot of time. They have had huge hand in our success and that needs to be recognized a lot more!”
As for the 2020 season, Frey said he is looking forward to it.
“I’m looking forward to next season and the expectations,” he said. “We are going to go about our business like we have done in the past. Our goals will be the same as they have been, which are getting better every day and putting the team first. We will talk about wanting to be playing our best baseball when regionals come around, and we’ll see what happens!”
The National and Regional Coaches of the Year will be honored on Friday, Jan. 3, 2020, in the main clinic hall prior to the start of clinics at the 76th annual ABCA Convention, which will be held Jan. 2-5, 2020, in Nashville, Tenn.
The ABCA, founded in 1945, is the primary professional organization for baseball coaches at the amateur level. Its more than 11,000 members represent all 50 states and 23 countries. Since its initial meeting of 27 college baseball coaches in June 1945, Association membership has broadened to include eight divisions: NCAA Division I, II and III, NAIA, NJCAA, Pacific Association Division, High School and Youth. The 76th annual ABCA Convention will be held Jan. 2-5, 2020, in Nashville, Tenn.
About Diamond Sports
Diamond Sports designs and manufactures high quality baseball and softball products for all levels, while striving to inspire participation in baseball and softball with character, integrity and respect. Diamond Sports is based in Southern California and is proud to be the Official Ball of many great college conferences, as well as leagues, tournaments and organizations nationwide. You can find Diamond on the web at diamond-sports.com.