INDIANA – The Indiana (Pa.) athletic department, along with the campus and Indiana communities, mourns the passing of its former track and field and cross country coach Ed Fry. He passed away Saturday at his home in Somerset at the age of 80.
Fry coached both men’s cross country and track and field programs from 1966 until his retirement in 2009, and helped start the women’s programs in 1978. Fry coached men’s teams for 43 years, women’s track and field for 30 and women’s cross country for 29.
Fry helped develop 100 combined All-Americans and over 220 individual PSAC champions, and guided his teams to 13 team conference titles. In addition, his 1977 men’s and 1985 women’s cross country teams each finished third at their respective NCAA national championship meets.
Four men and 10 women earned top-15 finishes at the NCAA cross country championship meets during his career.
"Ed Fry was a true pioneer and anchor of tremendous track & field and cross country programs here at IUP," said Indiana (Pa.) Athletic Director Todd Garzarelli. "He was such a wonderful influence for so many of his students and student-athletes, whether it was on the track, in the classroom, in the real world. He will be missed."
In 1989 Eliza Benzoni took third at the national meet, at the time the highest ever finish for a woman from the East Region. Fourteen years later in 2003, Mindy Sawtelle eclipsed that mark when she raced to a second place finish at the national championships. Fry's top men's finisher was Nick Yutko, who came in sixth overall in 1983.
In track and field, Fry coached 10 student-athletes to individual national titles and 89 to All-American status. Since its inception in 1996, Fry has seen 28 of his former track & field standouts earn selection into the IUP Athletic Hall of Fame.
For his successes, Fry himself was selected to the school's Hall of Fame following his retirement as part of the 2010 induction class. He is also part of the Pittsburgh Marathon Hall of Fame (2010 class) and the DePaul University Hall of Fame (1996). Fry graduated from DePaul in 1962.
The arena inside IUP's Kovalchick Convention and Athletic Complex – opened in 2011 – was named in his honor.
Fry was also a world-class runner. Among his best performances was a 17th-place finish in the Boston Marathon in 1978, where he was the sixth American to cross the finish. He also set an age-group record and won the 1975 Submaster Olympic 10,000-meter race in Toronto. He gave up running at age 66.
In addition to his coaching and running exploits, Fry taught piano and music theory as an instructor in the IUP School of Music for more than four decades.