New Jersey state champ, PSU wrestler, Drexel coach Doug Frey passes

New Jersey state wrestling champ. Member of the Penn State wrestling team that won the 1953 NCAA team title at home. Head wrestling coach at Drexel University. Husband. Father.

These are but a few of the elements which signify the life of Doug Frey, who passed away at home Monday, Dec. 10 after battling Alzheimer's disease. He was 87.

Doug Frey
Douglas Edward Frey was born in 1931 in Easton, Pa. to the late Quintus Asher and Gladys Seifert Frey. He grew up in another community considered to be a wrestling hotbed, Newton, N.J., where he was a two-time New Jersey state champion and three-time state finalist. Frey also competed at the 1948 AAU (Amateur Athletic Union) championships.

Frey was offered scholarships to a number of colleges, but chose Pennsylvania State University, home to legendary head coach Charlie Spiedel (who served in the U.S. Navy with Doug's high school coach). With his twin brother Don, Doug was a member of the Nittany Lions squad that capped off an undefeated season by winning the team title at the 1953 NCAA championships. That accomplishment was doubly significant in that Penn State was the first eastern wrestling team to win a national championship, and they did it in the home gym, Rec Hall.

Doug Frey wrestled most of his matches for Nittany Lions at 157 pounds, compiling an overall record of 22-12-3, with three falls.

After graduating from Penn State with a Bachelor of Science in Physical Education in 1954, Frey entered the United States Air Force and headed to Texas for pilot training. One year later, he married his high school sweetheart, Betsy Ward. Frey rose to the rank of Captain before completing his USAF service in 1957, and then went on to graduate from the School of Physical Therapy at the University of Pennsylvania.

Frey served as Chief of Physical Medicine at University of Pennsylvania Presbyterian Medical Center in Philadelphia for over 30 years. During this time, he also worked at nearby Drexel University, serving as head athletic trainer for 32 years, and head wrestling coach for 10 years. His 35 years of service as an athletic trainer is the longest in Drexel's history. As head coach, Frey's teams compiled an impressive 114-23 overall record. His teams won three Middle Six Wrestling Championships, and never had a season with a losing record.

For his accomplishments at Drexel, Doug Frey was welcomed into the Drexel University Hall of Fame in 1995 and the Sussex County Sports Hall of Fame in 2009.

During his time at Drexel, Doug Frey's bond with his twin brother Don -- who was then coaching at Penn --strengthened as Doug's Drexel wrestlers also used Penn's wrestling room with Don's athletes, according to John Sanders, who served as an assistant to Don Frey at Penn, and, played handball with Doug on a regular basis while both were in Philadelphia.

Sanders -- along with Doug's daughter Kristin -- each told InterMat in separate interviews that twins Doug and Don Frey were almost inseparable in all aspects of life and career. In fact, the two brothers and their families lived in close proximity through most of their lives, even sharing a duplex at one time.
Don Frey passed away in early November, about one month prior to Doug's passing.

"I can imagine Doug died of a broken heart," Sanders told InterMat.

Doug's daughter Kristin Frey confirmed that thought, saying that it was when the family gathered for Thanksgiving dinner that her father -- who had been battling Alzheimer's disease -- fully realized that his twin would no longer be a part of his life.

Doug Frey is survived by his wife of 63 years, Betsy Frey; their four children, daughter, Kate Frey of Collegeville, Pa; daughter, Karolyn and husband Emil Everett of East Hampton, N.Y.; daughter, Kristin and husband Tom Peters of McLean, Va.; son, Jeffrey and wife Kimberly Frey of Lancaster, Pa; ten grandchildren, as well as many nieces, nephews and extended family members.

Doug Frey was also preceded in death by his twin brother Donald Frey, who passed on November 6, 2018, his brother Paul and wife Gladys Frey, sister Joan Dunker, and brother Jack Frey.

Visitation will be held on Saturday, Jan. 5, 2019 from 2-5 p.m. at the Brennan & Brennan Funeral Home, Inc., 55 Lincoln Avenue, Carbondale, Pa. A Celebration of Life will be held at a later date to be determined.

In lieu of flowers, the family asks that those wishing to pay tribute to Doug Frey consider contributions in his memory to the annual Alzheimer's Association fundraiser co-chaired by his daughter, Kate at


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