NCCU preps for Duke, despite absence of suspended coach
N.C. Central faded toward the end of last season, impacted by injuries both head coach Henry Frazier III and some of his players said knocked them off balance during their 5-3 run in the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference.
There was no league title for NCCU, but a 6-5 overall finish gave the Eagles their first winning season since 2007 and created momentum that carried over into spring ball and summer training camp.
But Frazier’s arrest on Monday threatens to cost the team some steam.
Frazier is charged with violating a domestic violence protective order and has been suspended with pay from his coaching duties while the matter is investigated.
The misdemeanor is related to fallout from his arrest last summer after Lanier Turner-Frazier told Morrisville police that he assaulted her in their home. The two were married at the time but have since divorced.
NCCU brass suspended Frazier with pay after last year’s arrest, which eventually ended with him pleading guilty to the charges before being reinstated to his coaching position.
On Monday, Turner-Frazier, who now lives in Cary, told police that Frazier had violated the domestic violence protective order that governs their relationship.
The police report gave no indication of what Frazier did to violate the order.
Attorney Ralph Frasier said Frazier wasn’t at Turner-Frazier’s place on Monday and that his client will be completely exonerated once all of the layers in the matter are peeled away.
Along with conflicting versions of what actually happened on Monday is the lack of clarity pertaining to when Frazier gets to rejoin his football team.
“There are no new developments regarding Coach Frazier,” NCCU spokeswoman Ayana Hernandez said Wednesday evening.
NCCU assistant head coach Dwayne Foster has assumed control of the Eagles, as he did last year when Frazier was suspended.
According to NCCU players on last year’s squad, the team didn’t miss a beat during Frazier’s absence, and Foster said that was because Frazier had such a tight structure in place in terms of each assistant coach understanding his role.
If NCCU leaders wait until Frazier’s Sept. 30 court date in Wake County before even considering reinstating him, the Eagles would be without their head coach for at least four games, including the Aug. 31 season opener against Duke at Wallace Wade Stadium in the Bull City Gridiron Classic.
Frazier recently lauded the NCCU-Duke game as a tremendous plus not only for each school involved but also for greater Durham.
In 2012, the classic was NCCU’s third game of the season. Frazier was back on the sideline by then, having been reinstated less than two weeks before the first practice.
It’s a more tenuous situation this season for NCCU, because the Eagles find themselves less than two weeks away from an actual game, and Frazier’s future, at least publicly, is uncertain.