Western North Carolina has plenty of coaches with connections of some sort to the Enka football program.
The Jets hired one Monday.
Jeff Frady was introduced as the Buncombe County school’s next coach during an afternoon news conference attended by players, faculty and community members.
Frady, 35, graduated from Enka in 1996 and has spent the past 13 years coaching in Henderson County at North Henderson (five years) and then East Henderson (eight). He was the offensive coordinator for the WNC Athletic Conference champion Eagles (11-2) in 2012.
“I’m excited about this opportunity, and the timing was right to come home,” Frady said.
“This really is a special community. Win or lose, they always show up to support you. That’s not always the case everywhere else. And we want to make this team something that the community can be proud of. We want to contend in every game.”
Frady replaces Manny Matsakis, who stepped down in March after compiling a 13-23 record in three seasons. Matsakis is now coach at NAIA Bethany College (Kansas).
Under him, the Jets went 5-7 in 2012. Their wins total was the most by an Enka football team since 2001, and the Jets beat Asheville High for the first time in 17 years. Senior lineman Andrew Franklin (Campbell) and wide receiver Drake Wells (Gardner-Webb) have signed to play for colleges.
Enka received about 65 applications for the coaching position, according to athletic director Brian Carver.
“We had a number of qualified candidates. We liked the fact that we think coach Frady is going to have some staying power,” Carver.
“We wanted to hire a coach who could build a program. Now, we feel like we can even tell the fourth or fifth-grade players in our community, ‘This is your football coach.’ This is just a great day for Enka.”
After briefly meeting with their new coach, Jets players broke an impromptu huddle by yelling “Frady” in unison. Frady was also the baseball coach at East Henderson for seven years and went 13-9 in his final season (2012).
Enka’s hire leaves Cherokee as the only mountain school, public or private, without a football coach. Former Braves coach Craig Barker stepped down April 26.
Frady becomes the third Enka graduate to take over a MAC program, joining Danny Wilkins (Asheville High) and Mike Sexton (Erwin). The Jets have not enjoyed a winning season in football since 1997, which is the longest drought in Buncombe.