By Adam Samson/Sports Information Director
Stephens College Director of Athletics Deb Duren has announced the hiring of Ray Fron as the Stars’ new head basketball and golf coach. The 25-year coaching veteran arrives at Stephens after serving as assistant head basketball coach and recruiting coordinator at Aquinas College (NAIA DII) the past three seasons.
“I want to thank President Dianne Lynch, AD Deb Duren and the search committee for giving me this opportunity,” Fron said. “I am impressed with the quality people I met on my visit and believe the pieces are in place to make Stephens competitive athletically. Stephens has what I was looking for—a small college with a great track record academically, yet willing to support the student-athlete on the playing field.”
The bulk of Fron’s experience at the collegiate level comes from his time in Grand Rapids, Mich., at Aquinas College. Longtime head coach Linda Nash added Fron to her staff in 1996 and welcomed him back with open arms in 2011. Including his two stints (1996-2008, 2011-14), Fron has helped guide the Saints to four NAIA DII National Tournament appearances and a Wolverine-Hoosier Athletic Conference (WHAC) title in 2007. During his time at Aquinas, the Saints compiled a record 267-190 (.584).
“I believe in setting high expectations and creating an atmosphere of players wanting to be engaged in whatever the basketball and/or golf programs are involved in,” Fron said. “We will work extremely hard both on the court/course and in the classroom. Coach Nash and I have always preached about having a balance in life. Our goal is to win every contest we are in, but we want to be able to enjoy the journey and have fun along the way.”
Between coaching stops at Aquinas, the Grand Rapids, Mich., native had the opportunity to become head coach at Spring Hill College (NAIA DI). He inherited a challenging situation as the fourth women’s basketball hire in a four-year span. In three seasons at the helm, Fron brought stability to the Badgers’ basketball program and improved areas such as academics and recruiting.
Prior to joining the collegiate ranks, Fron was the head girls’ basketball coach at Central Catholic High in Modesto, Calif., for four years, leading the program to its first-ever state playoff appearance. He also spent three years as head coach at Riverbank High School in Riverbank, Calif., from 1987-90.
In addition to basketball, Fron will also coach golf at Stephens. While hitting the links is a hobby for Fron, he also has competitive experience playing on the Michigan Amateur Golf Tour (MIAGT).
Classroom success and the development of young women off the court is nothing new to Fron, a big advocate of the small college academic and athletic mission of the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA).
Aside from coaching, Fron has taught special education at both the middle and high school level. He received his B.S. in Psychology and Special Education from Grand Valley State University and also has a Master in the Art of Teaching from Aquinas College.
Athletically, Fron was a prep athlete at Catholic Central High School in Grand Rapids where he lettered in cross country and track, while also playing basketball and baseball.
“I also would like to thank my wife and family for allowing me to take on this responsibility as their support has never wavered,” Fron added. “Lastly, I want to thank my longtime colleague at Aquinas College and great friend, Coach Linda Nash, whose friendship has meant so much to me. It goes well beyond basketball.”
Fron and his wife, Kari, have been married for 35 years and are the proud parents of three: Lauren, Robert and Tarah. The Frons are also proud grandparents of Ainsley and Tatum, the daughters of Robert and his wife, Ronda.
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