Throwback Thursday: Laura Frost
March 29, 2012
Laura Frost (Softball/Volleyball) 1975-79
Frost stared for Kansas on the volleyball court and in the softball diamond, as she took part in some of the Jayhawk women’s early success. The Johnson County, Kan. native led her softball team to three appearances in the Intercollegiate Athletics for Women World Series and helped the volleyball program grow in its infancy. Frost still makes it back to Lawrence and follows both the softball and volleyball teams. She is currently an art teacher at Blue Valley North High School in Overland Park, Kan.
Why did you choose to attend the University of Kansas?
“My grandparents graduated from KU. My grandfather graduated around 1918 (from undergrad) and then from law school in 1920. My whole family has been Jayhawks, so that’s the only place I ever thought of going.”
What made you want to play two sports during college?
“Volleyball was my favorite sport and the one I think I was best at, but I loved softball. I had some friends on the (softball) team and we were good. We went to the Intercollegiate Athletics for Women World Series three times out of the four years that I was there. It meant a lot to me to play a sport that I loved (volleyball), and the other one (softball) I liked because we were able to accomplish something special every year.”
What was your favorite part about participating in the AIAW World Series for three seasons during your collegiate career?
“I think probably seeing the teams from all over the country. I had some friends from high school that were scattered all over. I had one who was at the University of Northern Colorado, and she was always there. It was also fun to see UCLA at the end of my career because that’s when they started to become strong. They weren’t the first two years.”
What was the hardest part about playing two sports?
“I think I went to maybe two football games while I was there because we just really didn’t have time. We were able to go to basketball games a lot because that was in between (seasons). Back in those days, we didn’t travel in planes, instead we traveled in vans, so we got to know each other pretty well and with all the games we played, we got close. It wasn’t really a hardship at that time (to travel so much), we felt lucky because we got to actually play. That was the beginning of scholarships, so it was really neat because when we were younger, we knew those (scholarships) weren’t here at KU or any other university. We felt like we experienced opportunities the ones before us didn’t have.”
Do you have a favorite memory from your playing days?
“In volleyball, this was during my senior year but I know this has been disputed and different dates have been mentioned. I was on the team and in the match, where we tied Nebraska. It was the only time we’ve ever stole a match from them. It was the fall of 1978 at the Big Eight Tournament. It was in Lawrence at Robinson Gymnasium and at that time it was pool play. We won the first set and Nebraska won the second, so I think that’s the only time they didn’t beat us.”
“In softball, I would say my whole senior year was a favorite memory of mine. There were four seniors and each of us kind of had our own group of kids (underclassmen to look after). We were assigned rooms so we could get to know all the freshmen and it was just so much fun. The whole team was so close.”
What do you think about the current KU softball facility (Arrocha Ballpark)?
“I love the new stadium! In my day, we played at Holcom Park, all the way out at Iowa and 27th. We didn’t have a field, so we practiced at Broken Arrow (Louisiana and 19th). We really didn’t have facilities back then but to us it wasn’t even a concern. We were able to play, so we just appreciated everything we got.”
Do you still keep in contact with some of your teammates?
“Oh yes, Julie Woodland, Donna Sullivan (from the softball team) but all the people I played with, are still my best friends today. Paula Woolworth (1975-78) was up twice this year to go to KU basketball games with me. She lives in Texas but always finds ways to have reunions. KU has done a pretty good job with that and in 1999; they honored three softball teams, two which I were on, by putting them into the Hall of Athletics. I thought that was really neat and we even got to go out during halftime of the men’s basketball game.”
Do you follow the current KU softball team closely
“Definitely, although I am a teacher so their games are always when I’m at school. It’s kind of hard for me to go because by the time I get there, it’s usually the second game of a double-header, so it’s been a little bit hard but we all follow them real closely and I know we all talk about them. Most of us don’t live around Lawrence, so we can’t catch many games. I know when the softball games are in Texas, there are a bunch of people who played that go down and watch. They make sure they get to see the team.”
Where do you currently work and what subject do you teach?
“I teach art at Blue Valley North High School. The kids generally like to come to class because it’s fun. I feel like they get to relax and be creative. I was also a volleyball coach there for four years.”
Was there any specific memory of KU, not from your playing days that you remember?
“I’ll tell you what probably cemented my love for KU. I kept a diary in 1970 and one entry was all about how we had beaten Colorado in basketball. I think they were in first place at the time, and it was real special. It was Jo Jo White’s last game. They presented him with the game ball at center court. My parents had season tickets to the basketball games and we went to all of them. In those days, I loved singing the school song (Alma Mater), because I couldn’t sing it without crying.