Nathan Frisby’s time as Tahlequah head baseball coach was short-lived.
After two years, Frisby is exiting the program to take the same role at Hilldale.
It was an opportunity he couldn’t pass up. Frisby played at Hilldale and was an assistant for the Hornets from 2009-14.
“I went to school there, my wife went to school there, my sister went to school there… it’s just where we’re all from,” Frisby said Wednesday afternoon. “I don’t know if I’ve ever had a dream job, but I’d say it’s pretty high on the list of jobs I’d like to have one day. I spent five years coaching there as an assistant so I’m familiar with it. There’s also a lot of things that factored in that didn’t have to do with baseball.”
Frisby led the Tigers to a 39-26 record in his two seasons, including a 13-18 mark in 2019. The Tigers were eliminated in the Class 5A Pryor Regional Tournament by eventual state champion Pryor. Tahlequah was also eliminated in the regional tournament by an eventual state champion (Tulsa Bishop Kelley) in 2018.
It came as a surprise for Tahlequah Athletic Director Matt Cloud.
“I was [surprised],” Cloud said Wednesday morning. “In my mind, this would be the only job he would leave for is the Hilldale job. He went to school there, lives there, and his wife went to school there.”
It’s back to the drawing board for Cloud, who hired Frisby in the summer of 2017 after Frisby was head coach at Muskogee for three years.
“I’ve got kind of a game plan and I’ve got several people that I’ve reached out to that we’re going to visit with about the position,” Cloud said. “As soon as [Frisby] told me I started picking up the phone. In the AD’s world you have to have a short list of people that you would call that could possibly take jobs. I’ve already had several emails about the position. It’s just bad timing in the summer sometimes. You’ve got people leaving on vacation, you’ve got to wait for school board meetings, and there’s always that bureaucracy that you have to go through.”
Even with an opportunity to return home the decision still wasn’t an easy one for Frisby, who was on the coaching staff of Hilldale’s 2012 Class 4A state championship team.
“I really enjoyed my time [in Tahlequah],” Frisby said. “I appreciate Coach Cloud giving me the opportunity and Coach [Brad] Gilbert for allowing me to help with football. We made some great relationships with the players and the families, and I don’t want those to end. It was a tough decision because we really enjoyed Tahlequah High School and the kids we coached. It was tough, it really was. I’ll miss it.”
“He was doing a good job here and I think they were looking for houses here to move to the community,” said Cloud, who coached Frisby when he was head coach at Bacone College. “In the coaching world, stuff happens like that. We had a long talk. We had a real long talk about it. In this situation, in this business, sometimes you’ve got to do what’s best for you and your family. We’ve all done it in the coaching world. I wish him all the best.”
Assistant coach Brandon Christian will take the lead role with Tahlequah’s summer league team.
Frisby’s position as wide receivers coach on the football team will be filled at a later time.