CIRCLEVILLE — A former Lady Brave made headlines earlier this week as she recorded her 700th career win as an NCAA head softball coach. Throughout her history with the sport, Melissa Frost looked back on her time as a Circleville athlete as it helped her become the woman she is today.
Frost started her athletic journey in Circleville when she was a student at Logan Elm High School — a cross-town rival of Circleville High School. From a young age, she watched as her older sister, Emily Perkins, went through the ranks while also being coached by her father, William Frost.
“My dad was a coach at Logan Elm as well,” Frost told The Circleville Herald. “I had the opportunity to be exposed by several sports at a young age.”
Throughout her days as a Lady Brave in the early 1990’s, Frost would tackle several other athletic hobbies before falling in love with the sport of softball. Other than pitching in the circle, Frost also competed in volleyball, basketball, as well as participating in the high jump and 100-meter dash for the track program.
“I only did [track] for one year,” Frost noted adding that her mother, Marilyn Frost, influenced the former Lady Brave to just focus on three sports rather than four. “My mom, I think, pushed me in the right direction… it was a bit much to play four sports in one year.”
While still playing volleyball and basketball, Frost would continue to work on her craft inside the circle. As the sport gained more notoriety in Pickaway County, Frost would evolve her pitching style from slow to fastpitch — making her a force on the diamond.
“For whatever reason, I became a pitcher and I think I just loved the challenge,” Frost said. “There is so many things about being in the circle that I loved.”
As a teenager, Frost would compete in a women’s league which gave her much-needed experience as a young, aspiring athlete. Playing with others who were faster, the now head coach of the University of Indianapolis softball team said that experience gave her a leg-up on the competition when she eventually entered college athletics.
“It gave me so much exposure,” Frost commented. “[I played in that women’s league] for as long as I can remember.”
From a young age, Frost loved being at the ball park — an aspect about her life she feels contributed to her success in the sport. Like most youth, the itch to play outside and compete never left the former Lady Brave, who would go on to attend Marshall University, located in West Virginia.
The Herd standout primarily played both pitcher and center fielder for the university — competing throughout her time and an undergraduate. As she would prepare for her graduate years at another institution, Frost was asked to stay and help her college program after another assistant coach left. At that point, Frost discovered that she needed to coach and so far, it is safe to say that decision was a fruitful one.
“I was very gracious to her for the opportunity,” Frost said adding how she learned the ins and outs of how a Division I program works.
Just this week, Frost made headline of her own as a coach for the University of Indianapolis Greyhounds as she went on record her 700th career win as an NCAA head coach. Her Division II program is currently ranked No. 11 in the country with no signs of letting up on future opponents anytime soon.
The now all-time winningest coach in program history, Frost began her journey with the Lady Greyhounds by taking over the head coaching position in 2004. Since her initial steps on campus, Frost has made the program become one of the top teams in the Great Lakes Valley Conference (GLVC).
According to her coaching profile on athletics.uindy.edu, the five-time GLVC Coach of the Year has recorded a 599-247-1 (.708) winning record with the Lady Greyhounds. Her overall NCAA coaching record is 683-303-1 (.689).
Additionally, her team has boasted, a Midwest-best, 12 consecutive NCAA Tournament berths, including four Super Regional appearances and two trips to the 2009 and 2015 DII Women’s College World Series.
As a former player, Frost knows what it takes to stand out amongst the rest of the crowd. Like some successful athletes, helping players get to their full potential can be seen as a greater reward than competing. Since 2006, she has produced 12 student athletes that were either named player, pitcher or freshman of the year for the GLVC.
Further, she has mentored nine different players who have a combined 30 All-America recognitions. One of her mentees included star pitcher Morgan Foley who is a four-time All-American and a 2014 DII Ron Lenz Pitcher of the Year.
“I just work at a wonderful institution with a great athletic department,” Frost said.
Now in her 17th season with the Lady Greyhounds, Frost has no plans on stopping soon — that includes winning. She contributes her success in Indiana to her coaching staff, players and administrators who took a chance on the former Lady Brave to take over a program of which was struggling during the early 2000’s.
Looking back on her time in Pickaway County, Frost has fond memories of practicing with her father and watching her sister climb the ranks of Logan Elm athletics. With two parents that support her, Frost has taken her love and passion for softball and turned it into a career model for other young athletes to follow.
“I hope to keep winning… I’m probably one of the most competitive people you will ever meet,” Frost commented.
Frost has an impressive resume while being a NCAA head coach. See her full career trajectory below:
Frost’s career record
Year School W-L (PCT.) Other
2002 Wheeling Jesuit 17-16 (.515)
2003 Wheeling Jesuit 28-18 (.609)
2004 Wheeling Jesuit 29-22 (.569)
2005 U-Indy 27 18 (.600)
2006 U-Indy 31-19 (.620)
2007 U-Indy 25-22 (.532)
2008 U-Indy 39-28 (.582) — NCAA appearance
2009 U-Indy 37-21 (.638) — Midwest Region champs
2010 U-Indy 36-17 (.679) — GLVC Coach of the Year, NCAA appearance
2011 U-Indy 36-14-1 (.716) — NCAA appearance
2012 U-Indy 50-9 (.847) — GLVC Coach of the Year, Midwest Coaching Staff of the Year, NCAA appearance, GLVC Tournament champs
2013 U-Indy 54-8 (.871) — GLVC Coach of the Year, Midwest Coaching Staff of the Year, NCAA Super Regional appearance
2014 U-Indy 44-13 (.772) — GLVC Coach of the Year, NCAA appearance
2015 U-Indy 48-15 (.762) — Midwest Coaching Staff of the Year, Midwest Region champs
2016 U-Indy 51-5 (.911) — GLVC Coach of the Year, GLVC Tournament champs,
2017 U-Indy 33-21 (.611) — NCAA appearance,
NFCA Donna Newberry “Perseverance” Award winner
2018 U-Indy 39-20 (.608) — NCAA appearance
2019 U-Indy 49-17 (.742) — NCAA Super Regional appearance
2020 U-Indy 14-5 (.737) — Season shortened due to pandemic
Total: 683-308-1 (.690)