Cavs' kicker plays after father's heart attack
His 22-yard field goal on the final play of the first half was his third in as many tries and had given the Cavaliers a 16-13 lead against the No. 20 Cougars. Then as he was leaving the field, Frye saw his mother moving down the stands.
Dana Frye told her son that his dad, who had suffered a heart attack just over a year ago, was having chest pains in the stands. When Frye looked up, he could see his dad, Mark Frye, seated and surrounded by paramedics.
''I've seen him like that one time before,'' he said Monday, recalling his father's first heart attack just over a year ago. It came during a family retreat on Whitetop Mountain near Bristol, Tennessee a day before Ian was to return to campus for preseason workouts. He wound up carrying his father to the car before they drove 45 minutes to a hospital.
Mark Frye, 58, suffered an acute heart attack during the game, said Angie Morgan, the charge nurse on Monday night at Utah Valley Regional Medical Center. He is still in the hospital, but hopes to be discharged on Tuesday.
Mark Frye said he knew he was in good hands, so he encouraged his son to finish the game.
''Always in our family, we stress doing the right thing, and that was the right thing at the time,'' he said in a telephone interview. ''He had a job to do and I thought he should stay and do it.''
The younger Frye headed to the locker room, where he told a few teammates what was going on as he tried to regain his focus.
''I knew the paramedics and doctors would take care of him,'' he said.
Coach Mike London left the decision up to his kicker, and when Frye and the team trotted onto the field for the second half, long snapper Tyler Shirley said Frye seemed ''distraught,'' He tried to offer the kicker some moral support.
''Right when we walked out, I saw him sitting down on the bench, and I was like, `Hey man. Just let it go. It's 30 minutes. Your dad's in good hands,' and he was like, `Yeah, I got it,''' Shirley said.
Placekickers often spend time on the sideline watching the game, and when it appears they might be called into action, they warm up by kicking several balls into a net on the sideline.
Frye spent much of the second half banging on footballs.
''I think he was just trying to get his mind off it, but he was hammering them,'' Shirley said.
Then early in the fourth quarter, the Cavaliers had a drive stall at the BYU 29, and London called on his kicker.
The 46-yard attempt would pull Virginia within one score of the favored Cougars.
''That was probably one of the hardest kicks that I've ever had to do just knowing about my dad, what he was going through and having to perform still for the team,'' Frye said. ''I kicked it for him.''
The ball sailed through, making the redshirt junior 10 for 11 on field goal tries this season.
After the game, Frye headed to the hospital to check on his dad and stayed in Utah overnight.
Frye said his father had suffered a blockage in two stents placed in his heart after his first heart attack. By the time he arrived at the hospital following a 41-33 loss, a procedure to clean the stents had been performed.
He walked in to find his dad watching college football again.
Mark Frye, who had seen every kick his son had made, was lamenting having missed the last field goal, but learned Monday his son was named the ACC's specialist of the week. He got the news even before his son.
Said Ian Frye: ''My dad was actually the one who texted me.''
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