James Madison University has named Ta’ Frias as the Director of the Women’s Track and Field and Cross Country programs, JMU Director of Athletics Jeff Bourne announced today. Frias takes over for long-time JMU coach Bill Walton, who recently announced his retirement after 38 years at the school.
“I would like to thank Jeff Bourne and Kevin White for the opportunity they’ve given me to lead this program,” Frias said. “I would also like to thank Coach Walton for his mentorship and guidance throughout my four years at JMU. I look forward to continuing the rich tradition JMU Track and Field and Cross Country has established over the past two decades.”
“We are thrilled to have Ta’ taking over the lead of the program,” Bourne commented. “She has shown a dedication to the student-athletes, both personally as a coach and with the perspective from her days as a highly successful athlete. Her passion for their experience and growth will no doubt continue to enhance the program in the years to come.”
Frias has been the head track and field coach for JMU for the last five seasons. In 2012, in just her third season at JMU, Frias was selected the Colonial Athletic Association Coach of the Year by a vote of the league’s head track and field coaches.
Frias earned the CAA honor after guiding the Dukes to their first conference title in May 2012. JMU captured individual titles in six different events (high jump, long jump, 100 meters, 800 meters, 1,500 meters, 5,000 meters) en route to winning the CAA crown.
In addition to winning the CAA team title, the 2011-12 JMU team tied for eighth place at the Eastern College Athletic Conference Indoor Championships. That tied for the second-best ECAC indoor finish in school history and the program’s best performance at the ECAC meet since placing third in 1998.
At Stephen F. Austin Frias coached 13 Southland Conference champions and 77 all-conference performers. Her athletes set 25 school records and won four NCAA all-region honors. She coached four NCAA national qualifiers, one USA Olympic Trials qualifier and one Team USA athlete who competed in the 2006 Under-23 North America, Central America and Caribbean Athletic Association (NACAC) Games.
While Frias was coaching at Stephen F. Austin, the SFA women’s team won Southland Conference Championships in 2002, 2003 and 2005 and the men’s team won the SLC indoor team title in 2005.
Frias is a 1998 graduate of North Carolina, where, competing as Ta’ Bingham, she was a three-time All Atlantic Coast Conference selection in the heptathlon. She was a member of eight ACC champion teams.
She holds a bachelor’s degree in biology and is USA Track and Field Level II certified in the sprints and jumps.
A native of Richmond, Va., Frias was inducted into the Collegiate High School Athletic Hall of Fame in Richmond in October.
She is married to Jaime Frias and has two children, Azari and Jaime Dhani.