Many longtime Ohio State football fans surely remember the come-from-behind victory quarterback Greg Frey engineered against LSU in Ohio Stadium during the 1988 season. It was one of his more memorable moments during his career as a Buckeye.
Frey was a member of Ohio State’s 1986 recruiting class.
LSU led 33-20 with 4:29 left when Frey, in just his first game as a starter, led the Buckeyes on two scoring drives, the winning one culminating with a 20-yard touchdown strike to Bobby Olive with just 38 seconds remaining to give Ohio State a 36-33 victory.
“For me, as more time passes, it’s nice that people remember the positive moments,” Frey said. “For me there’s a couple of comebacks. There’s the Minnesota comeback and LSU and Iowa. Those are the ones that really stand out. They’re certainly important to me. It’s something that I’m very proud of. You have to leave some legacy, I guess, and to be remembered positively, in some way, is a great thing.”
A product of St. Xavier High in Cincinnati, Ohio State really wasn’t his ideal destination while he was with the Bombers.
“Ironically, I didn’t grow up an Ohio State fan at all,” Frey said. “Cincinnati is such a big Catholic town and I was a big Notre Dame fan. A couple of my cousins played at Notre Dame so I had gone to a bunch of games up there and that’s really where I wanted to go. But that just didn’t work out.”
Gerry Faust, the former Cincinnati Moeller coach, was still the head man at Notre Dame at the time but was on his way out the door.
“Faust was talking to me and was on the verge of offering,” Frey said. “And then Lou Holtz came in and wanted a mobile quarterback and I didn’t fit that at all.”
But Jim Tressel - an assistant under Earle Bruce at Ohio State at the time - was recruiting Frey for Ohio State at the time.
“But then he left to go to YSU and they didn’t recruit me,” Frey said. “So I literally told my dad, ‘Hey I’d like to consider Ohio State and see if they’re interested.’ So he got on the horn and within 24 hours I’m on the phone with Earle. It was late in the game, too. It was the middle of January when this all happened.”
After Ohio State, Frey had a stint in the World League.
Before long Frey was a member of Ohio State’s 1986 recruiting class.
“Within a couple of weeks I visited, really liked it, Earle came to the house - I had a lot of respect for Earle, and it all worked out,” Frey said. “So I didn’t know much about Ohio State honestly but obviously I’m happy I did.”
And Frey certainly had a solid career under center at Ohio State.
“Obviously I had a lot of ups and downs which is normal. No one is immune to that,” Frey said. “But I guess in retrospect I feel like it was a major blessing that I was able to play there and start and play consistently.”
And he was able to accomplish a few of his goals that he initially set out to do along the way.
“My main goal when I went to Ohio State was to play both baseball and football and in the final analysis I did that,” Frey said. “I was able to be a part of a Big Ten championship team in both. I wanted to keep my GPA above 3.0 and I was able to do that. I had a really strong academic experience, too, so that was a great thing. And I learned a lot of lessons along the way. I could talk for hours about the downs, there were a lot of adversities, but that just helped me grow as a person.”
Frey also got to play for John Cooper.
“I played for Earle his last two years and then he got fired,” Frey said. “And then I played for John Cooper in his first three years. Those are the years I started.”
The coaching change was somewhat of a difficult transition period for Frey.
“It was tough. It was really tough,” Frey said. “It’s kind of like a political regime change. When the democrats get booted and the republicans come in, you’re one or the other. And if you’re one of the other guys they don’t like you. And Coach Cooper was very direct about that. He told that to everybody, including me. So it was difficult.”
But Frey stuck it out and in the end it all worked out well for him. It was more than fun being the quarterback at Ohio State.
“Nothing in my life will ever compare to the euphoria of playing on Saturdays in Ohio Stadium or playing anywhere in the Big Ten for that matter. You can’t touch that. So that was really a dream come true for me,” Frey said. “I loved the experience. I would do it over again. The only negative I got to really see in-depth is that you can’t ever predict a coaching transition as a player and I’m not alone in that department. The people that get punished are the players.”
Regardless of any issues he may have had with his new head coach at the time, Frey is certainly a big Cooper guy now.
“It’s amazing. John and I had our differences but the fence has been mended tremendously,” Frey said. “We did an event together last year in Knox County and he apologized to me in front of everybody for not using me properly in his mind because of the offense that he ran and he didn’t need to do that. But it was important for me to hear that.
“When I was in the radio booth I was critical of him. Some of it was out of bitterness and immaturity. But the bottom line is that we’ve mended the fences and I have the utmost respect for John. And his record speaks for itself.”
After Ohio State, in a nutshell, Frey played some Arena football, played in the World Football League and was drafted by the Tigers and played some minor league baseball. He was injured in the Arena League and that was sort of the end to his professional sporting life.
Frey then began his business career in sales and then he got heavily involved in real estate in 1995 and ’96.
“I was in real estate for almost 15 years,” Frey said. “Real estate paid the majority of my bills and I got into broadcasting by default. I worked with 610 (WTVN) and it was a one-game deal that turned into 11 years.”
He did pre-game and post-game analysis for the Buckeye games on 610 AM in Columbus.
“And that really led into my passion in football now, I do (television) high school coverage for Sports Time Ohio and kind of bounce around a little bit,” Frey said. “And that’s just awesome.”
Frey also served a stint as an assistant high school football coach during his real estate career as well.
“I really loved that but when my real estate income went in the tank and we had a son I had to put that on the back burner for a while,” Frey said. “I was a real estate agent, a commercial realtor and I began investing in properties and I got clipped pretty hard in 2008 on both ends of that. That’s where Advocare came in.”
He was at a real crossroads in his life at the time.
“I lost 80-percent of my income on the brokerage side and I continued to invest in properties and I was undercapitalized and overleveraged and it got real expensive real quick,” Frey said. “But I survived. And that’s when, by God’s grace, Advocare came into my life and really saved the day.”
Advocare is certainly more than a professional sports sponsor or a line of weight loss products to the many people that are involved with the company.
“You hear a lot of people in Advocare that have a product story. I love the product, the product has been phenomenal for me but I don’t have the major product story,” Frey said. “Mine was a business story. I needed the income, flat out. And that was what attracted me.”
Frey had a good friend that was involved with Advocare and he was watching him.
“I was skeptical like a lot of people were. It’s another one of those deals you know,” Frey said. “But I trusted my buddy and he was having success. He was making six figures in his third year and he was a personal trainer. And that got my attention. I needed the money so I was like ‘You know what I’m going to give this thing a shot.’ So I did my home work and I jumped in.”
Initially it was just a stop-gap measure for Frey to help pay the bills.
“I needed that 500 to 1,000 dollars a month to pay the bills and in my first year I was able to do that,” Frey said. “That was significant for us. We just had a baby boy and money was tight. So it helped pay the bills.”
And his own personal business with Advocare has grown exponentially since.
“It’s kind of blown my mind but it worked,” Frey said. “In the course of really three years doing the business it’s replaced my real estate income, it’s helped me carry some of the investment property burden that I’ve had and that’s been expensive. My wife is a teacher and she came home from teaching last fall so she can be a mom. So this has been truly life changing for my family. Our income has risen to the point where we’re truly work from home parents. I work the business, she’s a mom and I work it part time. It’s truly amazing.”
So Frey has a simple message to tell others who might naturally be skeptical of the direct sales world.
“What I tell other people is to keep an open mind because you never know what this can do for you,” he said. “It can give you options. Whether you want to make hobby money or life-changing money it can do that for you. For us it presents a very bright future because we have options now. We’ve paid off over $55,000 in debt and we’re close to being debt-free now so that’s pretty powerful considering where we were. And my son gets to see and do a lot of things as are all three of us, and that’s powerful. And without Advocare we would not have that opportunity.”
James Laurinaitis is an unpaid sponsor of the product and guys like Eric Lichter, Josh Jackson, Brooks Burris and Matt Warren are some familiar Buckeye names currently involved with the company.
“You’ve got a 19-year-old company that’s got a terrific track record and a pristine reputation,” Frey said. “We have a major presence now in NASCAR, Austin Dillon, and he’s leading the Nationwide series. We’re in every single NFL locker room and those guys don’t get paid to use the product. The validation is there. It’s legit.”
Of course Frey claims Advocare can help you like it’s helped him.
“The question you have to ask yourself is how can Advocare help you, whether it’s products or business,” Frey said. “And I think the most important thing I can convey to anybody else who’s interested is that it’s your choice. You get to choose if you want to do one thing or the other or both and I appreciated that because I didn’t want to ‘be sold’ per say. People get to choose their relationship with Advocare and that’s a pretty cool thing.”
And the product can help anybody healthy or unhealthy.
“It’s for anybody. My whole family is on the product and it can help anybody,” Frey said. “If you’re unhealthy it can help you in a big way, weight loss is certainly the physical one. But there’s so many other unseen benefits that come with it. It’s helped my joints, it’s helped me sleep better, it’s helped my focus tremendously and my energy level throughout the day is significantly better.”
He claims that Advocare products are unlike any other kind of energy drink on the market.
“I’ll put our 24-day challenge up against anything just because I continue to see the results,” Frey said. “So the bottom line is you got to eat good and you got to take care of yourself but when you add the products in it really fills in the gaps and I’ve seen some phenomenal results. And it’s truly for anybody.”
And Frey has proven, whether it be in the business world or during his career with Buckeyes, that you can turn any difficult situation into something pretty special. And for the record, he’s very supportive of the head coaching change at his alma mater now.
“I feel so bad for Jim (Tressel). I have the utmost respect for Coach Tressel. He always treated me with class and he would come over and say hi to me at practice,” Frey said. “I had always said if he was there I would want my son to play for him, he was that type of coach.”
But Frey is also a big fan of Urban Meyer.
“A lot of people don’t know this but he was a graduate assistant my first year at Ohio State and the year before that he was a volunteer defensive backs coach at St. Xavier in my senior year. So I got to see Urban way back when,” Frey said. “He’s tenacious, he’s tough and he knows how to win. And I know in Urban’s mind, there’s no doubt they’re going to get the job done. And I have zero doubt. It’s just a matter of how long. And if I know Urban, he’s not going to let it take them long. Things are going to be just fine.”
And for Frey himself, above all else, he’s just proud to be a former Ohio State quarterback.
“It’s just a tremendous honor. And I was a former captain too so that’s a major honor and I think there’s a responsibility that comes with that too,” Frey said. “I have a lot to be thankful for but I’m really thankful to be a Buckeye.”