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Penn mourns passing of longtime coach, athletic trainer Donald Frey


Penn Athletics is saddened by the passing of longtime wrestling coach and head athletic trainer Don Frey. The Penn Athletics Hall of Famer passed away peacefully on November 6 surrounded by his loving family.

"Penn Athletics lost a remarkable figure in former wrestling coach and athletic trainer Don Frey," said Penn's Director of Recreation and Intercollegiate Athletics Dr. Grace Calhoun. "Not only was he an Ivy League champion head coach, he was a passionate advocate of all Penn student-athletes as a trend-setting athletic trainer who set the standard in student-athlete care that our staff lives up to today. His service to Penn's student-athletes was honored with the deserved naming of the Donald Frey Athletic Training Complex, made possible by Dave Pottruck and others whom Don profoundly impacted over his career. His legacy is firmly etched in the ongoing mission of Penn Athletics. Our thoughts and prayers are with his family."

The head coach of Penn's wrestling team from 1962-70, Frey's .670 winning percentage ranks No. 1 all-time among head coaches and his 64 dual-meet victories rank No. 3 all-time. In 1968 and 1969, Frey's teams won Ivy League championships, the first-ever back-to-back championship runs in program history. Frey was instrumental in setting the foundation for the program, qualifying 15 wrestlers for the NCAA Championships. His coaching tenure followed a standout collegiate career of his own at Penn State. Frey was a two-time NCAA All-American, finishing second at 145 pounds in 1951 and third in 1953. He was co-captain of the 1953 Nittany Lions team which captured the first NCAA team championship in program history.

"Our wrestling program lost a legend with the passing of Don Frey," said head coach Roger Reina. "He set the standards which we hold true today. He won championships, cared tremendously about the well-being of his student-athletes, and was passionate about Penn and Penn Athletics. He was an immense resource to me as a student-athlete and especially as a young coach making his way in the profession. His legacy will live on in our wrestling room each day as we strive to live up to the standards set during his career."

In addition to his duties as head coach of the grapplers, Frey served as head athletic trainer at Penn. A 1957 graduate of Penn's School of Physical Therapy, Frey held professional certifications as both a physical therapist and athletic trainer -- one of the first in his profession to do so. His trendsetting nature set an innovative tone for Penn's sports medicine program which is still followed today. In 1980, Frey served as an athletic therapist at the 1980 Winter Olympic Games in Lake Placid, N.Y.

Frey's impact on all student-athletes was confirmed in 2010 with the opening of the Frey Athletic Training Room inside Franklin Field. The state-of-the art athletic training complex is the home to Penn's Silverstein Wellness and Concussion Center and is the athletic training home for Penn's football, sprint football, track and field, and lacrosse programs.

Information on memorial services will be provided as released by the Frey family.

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