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home : sports : sports August 1, 2014

5/15/2012 11:16:00 AM
Diné College Archery Coach Fray Gray named 2012 USCA National Coach of the Year
Gray says Assistant Coach Anthony Goldtooth made achievement possible
Diné College Archery Team coaches Fray Gray and Anthony Goldtooth pose for a photo in front of the Ned Hatathli Culture Center on the Tsaile, Ariz. campus. Photo/Ed McCombs
Diné College Archery Team coaches Fray Gray and Anthony Goldtooth pose for a photo in front of the Ned Hatathli Culture Center on the Tsaile, Ariz. campus. Photo/Ed McCombs
Navajo-Hopi Observer

TSAILE, Ariz. - The United States Collegiate Archery (USCA) Association has named Diné College Archery Coach Fray Gray USCA National Coach of the Year.

Gray has been the head coach for Diné College since 2007. Under Fray's leadership along with Assistant Coach Anthony Goldtooth, the Diné College Warriors have had amazing success with three Academic All-Americans, two Rookies of the Year, one All-American and a first ever Female Compound National Championship team in which Diné College beat Texas A & M for the title. This achievement marks the first time a tribal college has won a national Division I collegiate championship. This is made all the more remarkable given that Fray's athletes are new to the sport when they begin his two-year program. No other university club has this level of success with new archers.

"I'm honored to receive the National Coach of the Year Award but simply will not accept this honor without acknowledging my assistant coach, Anthony Goldtooth, and those who have helped me further progress the team. The archers themselves deserve most of the credit for being great listeners, and having patience, and dedication. Most of all, to the archers who remain students first, and athletes second," said Gray.

"Thank you to the college for supporting the archery program, and also congratulations to the team for all the hard work they do," said Goldtooth.

According to the USCA announcement posted on the web, Gray demands the best from the team and individual athletes. He maintains high standards and expectations every year and thus far has not been disappointed. Succeeding in not only building a team, but a team that performs and earns regional and national titles and honors every year is proof of his effectiveness, dedication, and support for archery.

Not only has Gray been the most successful coach of new athletes in college archery, he is currently serving as the first US Collegiate Archery Director of Judges. As part of his duties as Director of Judges, Fray has administered and taught the Judge Certification Course. The intent of this course and the associated Judge Certification Program is to provide qualified Judges to support the USCA clubs, college athletes, and the overall organization. Gray is responsible for conducting this monthly on-line Judge Certification Course and coordinating with USCA judges to keep their certification up to date throughout the Academic year. To date Gray has trained and certified more than two-dozen judges.

As a coach, Gray believes that it is his job to find the skill that everyone has yet to realize in any sport they want to pursue. Since Diné College is a two-year college there is very little time to bring new archers up to a competitive level. The turnover rate is approximately 80 percent every year. The success of the Diné College Warriors is an indication of Gray's (and Goldtooth's) coaching and motivational abilities.

At Diné College the emphasis is not only on archery but in academic studies. The goal of the program is to provide a positive and successful archery experience, and to ensure that each athlete succeeds academically. This later goal is a focus of the coaching staff and the success in that area is evident in that many former Diné College students transfer to four-year universities.

All of this might seem "typical" as the coach's role but in the context of living on the Navajo Nation, which is very remote, to have a coach like Gray give so much to the sport, to the students and to USCA is phenomenal. Diné College is proud of Gray and his success.

Gray is from Many Farms, Ariz. where he has lived for the past 40 years. He attended Arizona State University, Mesa Community College and Diné College. Gray has also received certification as an Emergency Medical Technician as well as an Associate's degree in Elementary Education.

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