By Charles Goldberg
AUBURN -- He won't be flying that blimp you'll see over a stadium on football Saturdays this fall. Kris Frost will be too busy for that. He'll be on the field playing linebacker for the Auburn Tigers.
But, oh, on a hot July day he'll be up there, flying an airplane out of Auburn, just like he did in May and April and most every other month he's been in school. Frost is majoring in Professional Flight Management and is well on his way to receiving his pilot's license.
What exotic location that takes him in five or 10 years remains to be seen, but his unusual major is always worth talk in the Auburn locker room.
"I've had Reese Dismukes ask me to take him flying. I've had Greg Robinson ask me to take him flying. They were serious, but they're the biggest guys on the team, so I told them I'd take them, 'but that's it, nobody else can come along.'" Frost says with a laugh.
"We have a lot of guys that school means a lot to them, so they ask me questions. They think it's pretty cool."
Frost says he's far enough along to get his pilot's license at Auburn as the university sorts out the direction of its aviation program. The former five-star athlete from North Carolina says he chose Auburn because of aviation.
"On my recruiting visit they took me out to the airport and showed me around," he said. "As soon as I enrolled I declared my major. I knew exactly what I wanted to do."
It was a boyhood dream.
"My brother reminds me we played with airplanes when we were kids," Frost said. "He knew how much I loved it, but he never would have thought that I would actually apply it to my life.
"It goes to show you, when a school gives you an opportunity you should take it. Auburn has definitely given me an opportunity to fly and do other things I wanted to do outside of football, and becoming a man and getting a degree that is going to be really important to me in the future."
Is flying in his blood? Must be. But not like it is for defensive lineman Brian Walsh. His mother flew helicopters in the Army and is now flies for Delta. He father was a test pilot at Area 51.
How cool is that?
Walsh began his college life in Professional Flight Management, like Frost, but switched to the Aviation Management Program.
"I grew up on planes," he says.
Aviation will be his career. He says he'll join the Air Force and hopes to join Delta one day.
Frost isn't sure what he'll do with his degree, at least initially. He wants to make a name for himself in football, too, and sees a lot of similarities in the two endeavors.
"Aviation is like football. It's fun playing, but there are a lot of behind-the-scene things like how much multi-tasking you have to do when you're making a radio call and checking your elevation and landing and taking off. You try to make it all muscle memory. It's similar to football because it's fun, but, at the same time, there's so much going on you stay busy."
Frost was set to fly every day in the summer. That's a lot of quality time with flight instructors, but he knows there's more to it than that.
"We went for an aviation session and there was an auditorium full, and that's when you realize how many people are into it, and how many people want -- not only their degree in it -- but their profession to be in it as well," Frost said. "It means a lot to them. When you're around a whole lot of people, sort of like a football team, and it means a lot to them, they're serious about it, and that makes you more serious in what you are doing. It correlates to football so well. It's like a team-thing, but at the same time, they're doing their individual flight times."
But an auditorium full of like-minded students interested in aviation isn't exactly like sitting in a football meeting with a new set of coaches wondering what's going on.
"A lot of them were surprised, but the old coaching staff was surprised as well," Frost said. "But it's fun because they may say stuff in meetings or they may say stuff on the field, and that reminds me I'm doing something that is really cool. It reminds me not to take anything for granted."
Charles Goldberg writes for AuburnTigers.com and Tiger Roar magazine. Follow him on Twitter on Follow @AUGoldMine