Frassinelli reflects on milestone
Abby Epstein – News Editor
From student athlete to a coach, Kelley Frassinelli an alum of Southern enters her 26th year of coaching the Owls Women’s Field Hockey team.
“It was a program I have started, and I have love for the school. For me this is my alma mater and I just wanted to see the program do what I knew it could,” said Frassinelli.
She started her career in field hockey in sixth grade when her middle school physical education teacher introduced it to her.
“I would credit her as being the best coach I ever had, and she never played a day in her life,” said Frassinelli.
She described herself as the type of athlete that was hesitant at first if she was not sure how to do it perfectly.
“I really worked hard to perfect what I did and listen to what the coaches were telling me and try to fix it right away. So, it pushed me to be a better player and I did eventually grow to love the game to this day, said Frassinelli.
Her career continued into college where the decision to play field hockey, along with doing track and field ended up being at her father’s alma mater.
“It just worked for me,” said Frassinelli. “It’s a Division II school and the competition was different, but I also didn’t want the pressure of a Division I institution to do something I love. So, I was able to play field hockey and also run track and field while I was here.”
Haing majored in exercise science, coaching as a career was not on Frassinelli’s mind when she graduated college.
“It just kinda happened,” she said. She started as the assistant coach after college and the head coach ended up not coming back the next year, so Frassinelli accepted the job.
“I stayed for six years doing that part-time with working full-time and then I needed to step away for a few years because I felt it needed more. The program needed more, and I couldn’t do that, so for a couple years I stepped away,” said Frassinelli.
Throughout her coaching career, Frassinelli said her style has evolved over the years.
“As you progress along the timeline you realize the kids change, that you have to change a little bit; but the foundation, the respect, what is expected of those athletes doesn’t change,” said Frassinelli. “That core value has to stay the same.”
Senior Jessica Maier said Frassinelli was persistent with recruiting her and showed how much she wanted Maier on her team.
“She just kept reaching out, she just kept emailing me that she had a spot for me on her team, and she was just very persistent and made herself known that she wanted me, and that she wanted me on her team,” said Maier. “I think that persistence made me want to come play for her.”
Maier said she is grateful she has been coached by Frassinelli for her college career. She also said Frassinelli does not just teach the players to be a better athletes but life lessons to build their character.
“In the recruiting process I saw that was she was very authentic but over the past four years I know that she is a wonderful, wonderful women,” said Maier. “I love her so much and I’m thankful I’ve had the opportunity to be coached by her and just know her in general as a person and not just a coach.”
“You gradually get more and more every year, whether it’s equipment, whether it’s practice facilities, or whatever it is, I think it’s just the evolution of time,” said Frassinelli. “The kids now have their own locker rooms for the most part, they have full equipment from head to toe. We were lucky if we got a mouth guard.”
Along with playing and coaching Field Hockey, Frassinelli was inducted into the Connecticut Field Hockey Hall of Fame in 2005. She will be inducted into the SCSU Athletics Hall of Fame in 2021.
“It was great, very flattering how they felt about the person that I am,” said Frassinelli. “I’m just always in that mindset that I’m doing something because I love to do it or it’s the right thing to do.”
To her players, Frassinelli is more than coach. She is a mentor and someone who her players feel they can come to about personal problems.
Maier. “I always like to call her my second mom, she has my best interest at heart, and I know anything I bring to her she’s got my back and I love that about her.”
Photo credit: SCSU_FH Instagram