Chris Frey Feature: Making An Impact
Spartan Senior Linebacker
By Cassi White, MSU Athletic Communications Student Assistant
April 1, 2017 – the day of the Green and White game. The stadium was filled with thousands of Spartan fans anxiously waiting to get their tease of football season and a sneak peek of how their favorite team would be performing come September.
Look a little closer and you notice a close-knit group of 80 people wearing a familiar name and number. Shirts with “Frey” and the number 23 filled a large section on the 50-yard line.
It was a big day for Chris Frey being his last spring game and all. This day would conclude his final season of spring ball, and it also meant that his senior season would be that much closer to beginning.
That wasn’t the reason he’ll remember that day forever.
After the conclusion of the game, Frey, a native of Upper Arlington, Ohio, brought his entire fan club onto the field for a group picture. Most of them had never been on the field before, so everyone was ecstatic to say the least. Only a handful of them knew what would happen next.
Frey got on one knee, proposed to Montana Henry and she, of course, said yes.
April 1, 2017 – the day that Chris Frey and Montana Henry agreed to spend the rest of their lives together.
He proposed in a place where some of his greatest memories occurred on Saturdays in the fall. He proposed with 80 of his closest family members present, and a football team that means the world to him.
There’s a reason that he proposed where he did surrounded by the people that were there. They had all impacted Frey’s life in one way or another. The best part is, they’ve been there to help him impact the lives of nearly everyone with whom he’s come in contact, starting with a boy named Josh Valentino.
Frey met Valentino through his volunteering with the Special Olympics. Frey started volunteering his sophomore year of high school because his fiancé’s uncle was the coach for the softball and basketball teams through the organization.
“He (Valentino) calls me like three or four times a week. I talk to him all the time,” Frey smiled. “I love all of the kids. You can walk into any of those practices and be in a horrible mood or have had a horrible day, and those kids will change your day around.”
The organization means so much to him that he even spends the Fourth of July with them annually.
“One of the families that is a part of the Special Olympics has a Fourth of July party right where we have a parade in Upper Arlington,” Frey explained. “I just go and hang out with those guys for the whole day. They walk through the parade, and it’s always a blast.”
The Special Olympics isn’t the only charitable organization that Frey feels so passionately about.
He and Montana cut and donated their hair to an organization based out of Michigan that gives it to kids with cancer. 15 inches, to be exact. With cancer being something that affects millions of people and their families, Frey took it upon himself to help out in any way he could, even if it meant cutting his hair.
Frey has and will continue to make his impact on the community.
The most recent impact that Frey made was on his teammates. He was voted one of two team captains for the 2017 season by his peers.
“It’s an honor,” Frey said of being named captain. “Ninety-nine percent of the guys on this team were captains of their high school team. It’s not just a popularity contest, or looking for a guy that’s the best football player. It really just shows that my leadership throughout this offseason and all of the tough things that we’ve gone through as a team has really paid off.”
After missing a couple of weeks of workouts back in June due to the passing of his grandmother, Frey still came back to East Lansing ready to lead his team in any way he could.
“I felt like I had been away from everybody for so long,” Frey explained. “I’m just honored that guys were able to look past that and look at my leadership and think that it was some of the best on the team and that they look up and they listen to me. I’m blessed to be in the situation that I’m in, and I’m going to try to be the best that I can.”
No matter the situation, Frey’s leadership remains strong and steadfast. Through the adversity he and his teammates went through and through the adversity Frey overcame with his family all in this past year, his teammates clearly looked to him as a leader and mentor.
The most obvious impact to all Spartan fans is the impact that Frey has made on the field. He became a Spartan because of seeing other players’ impacts they made for the Green and White.
Frey enrolled early at Michigan State, right after the team won the Rose Bowl in 2014.
“I was able to meet all of the guys that were on the Rose Bowl team and learn the ropes from them,” Frey said. “I learned a lot from the guys before me like Riley (Bullough), Ed Davis, Darien Harris and Taiwan Jones. They helped me to become the player that I am today.”
What kind of player is Chris Frey today? The kind that leads the team with 150 career tackles. The kind that brings an energy like no other. The kind that has two sacks and counting.
Frey got his second sack of his career against Bowling Green on Sept. 2. Following it, he extended both index fingers to the sky in honor of his grandmother.
“I knew she was there with me,” Frey smiled softly. “It was just a huge moment for me to be able to celebrate her because she had played such a huge role in my life. She was always there for me, and I’ll always cherish that moment because that was for her.”
So, what’s the underlying reason for all of this impact that Frey has made on the community, his teammates and Spartan fans? His family.
Frey and his family are the textbook definition of the slogan “family over everything.” It may sound cliché, but they do everything for each other.
His family volunteers with him at the Special Olympics. His fiancée donated her hair to children with cancer with him. His parents drove him to Michigan State countless times during the recruiting process to find his future home. He credits his grandmother for his most recent sack. In his 18 years of playing football, his parents have only missed two games. His family has supported him in everything he does, and that will never stop.
“I try to cherish everything with close family and friends because you never know when you might not ever see a person again,” Frey said.
Frey has made an impact on a countless number of people, and will continue to make his mark on the world in the future.