Unfinished business; NCCU keeps coach as Frazier AD bid fails
N.C. Central football coach Henry Frazier III is OK after coming up short in his bid to become athletic director at Prairie View A&M, whose football team he overhauled into a champion prior to his arrival in Durham to lead the Eagles.
Prairie View president George Wright on Tuesday named Mississippi Valley State athletic director Ashley Robinson to the same post at Prairie View.
Robinson, MVSU AD the past nine months, is Prairie View’s former assistant vice president of athletic compliance and academic advising.
The opening at Prairie View came about when Prairie View interim AD Fred Washington announced he would step down from that position to focus on his role as the school’s vice president of auxiliary services.
Frazier was among six finalists for the Prairie View job. He said the opportunity to talk with high-ranking university officials about running an athletic department was awesome.
“No disappointment,” Frazier said. “It’s going to take a lot for me to retire and walk away from coaching. I’m still doing something that I love to do. I still have a lot of unfinished business at North Carolina Central in terms of wining conference championships and going after national championships.”
NCCU’s football team is coming off its first winning season since 2007, finishing 6-5 in 2012, 5-3 in the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference.
With training camp for the Eagles six weeks away, Frazier expressed no concern that all of his talk in the past about buy-in from everybody in the program would fall on deaf ears going forward.
Frazier said his players were in the loop about his potential departure. He said it’s not like he was on the verge of skipping town to go coach at rival N.C. A&T — a scenario that would have warranted questions about loyalty.
“This was a promotion,” Frazier said. “This wasn’t like I was looking at a lateral move.”
Frazier said there will be fans who look at him sideways, but his concern is making sure those within NCCU’s football program have their minds right. Players who use the disloyalty bit as an excuse to slack off won’t play, and coaches who share that mentality will find themselves looking for jobs, Frazier said.
In terms of loyalty, Frazier said he had six job offers two years ago before accepting the NCCU job.
Frazier said his interest in the job opening at Prairie View was magnified because he worked there from 2004-10. His game planning snapped the school’s 80-game losing streak that went from 1989-98, the nation’s longest winless skid in college football.
Under Frazier, Prairie View had consecutive winning records from 2007-10, including back-to-back 9-1 seasons in 2008 and 2009, entailing a Southwestern Athletic Conference title.
Frazier said he and former Prairie View athletics director Charles McClelland talked years ago about Frazier possibly serving as Prairie View’s interim athletics director. Frazier said that prompted him to pursue a doctorate, which he is still doing through Prairie View.
“It’s definitely a dream,” Frazier said about some day becoming a director of athletics. “It’s definitely something that I’m definitely going to look at down the line. But it’s going to take a lot to get me to retire from coaching.
“As far as coaching goes, I’m right where I need to be. I’m right where I want to be, in terms of coaching.”
NCCU plays in the Football Championship Subdivision. Frazier said no other jobs on that level interest him.
“I don’t go out looking,” Frazier said.
Which is not to say that eyes aren’t on him.
“Mike Shanahan may call me from the Redskins,” Frazier quipped about the NFL head coach.