clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

How Sean Frazier deals with a crisis

Analyzing Frazier's record as an administrator

The past two decades have been a steady rise, professionally, for Wisconsin Deputy Athletic Director Sean Frazier. The New York native walked onto the University of Alabama football team in the late 80s. He served several years as an assistant football coach at Boston University and the University of Maine, earning his master's degree at the latter institution before moving into athletics administration. The former football player proceeded to carve out a decade-long niche serving as an athletics director at a series of athletic departments focusing on hockey.

Ironically enough, Frazier's very first challenge in athletic administration came in a conflict between the football and hockey teams while he was still at Maine. A player on the hockey team allegedly threatened African American football player Dwayne Wilmot. Wilmot immediately reported the threat to Frazier, then Maine's assistant director to athletics for equal opportunity, who then notified campus authorities.

Hockey players charged> UM trio allegedly made racial threats - Bangor Daily News (ME) - Saturday, December 20, 1997

As a liaison among student athletes, the administration and the Office of Equal Opportunity, Frazier serves as an advocate for students, particularly minority students. He said when Wilmot played the answering machine tape to him, he was shocked. And, as an African-American himself, he was all the more concerned.

"I went to Alabama and knew of the Ku Klux Klan there. This is a volatile situation," Frazier said. "Let's put it this way: I will never forget [the tape]. It was the most disgusting statement I've heard in the past 20 years, filled with hatred. The level of concern as a person of color to racial slurs, it puts you in a fearful state -- first fear, then anger."

As a minority on a predominantly white campus, Frazier worked to ease tensions and promote racial tolerance.

Black University of Maine students battle culture shock, social isolation - Bangor Daily News (ME) - Monday, February 9, 1998

Sean Frazier , who came to Maine in 1995 as an assistant football coach and serves as assistant to the athletic director for equal opportunity, has been credited with helping to create a better environment for minority athletes.

Part academic adviser, part sounding board, he organizes conferences, teaches a class, facilitates discussions and, as one student says, "gets things done."

"The biggest thing is having someone who they can confide in, who they can talk to about issues," Frazier says. "You can't be bringing ethnic minorities up to campus without the proper support. If you do that, we run the risk of potential liability. And that means, basically, we run the risk of ruining a young person's life."

Two years ago, Frazier helped form the Student Heritage Alliance Center. A dressed-up commons room in the basement of a dormitory, it serves as a place for all races to come together, as a place for minority students to congregate.

By 2002, Frazier was the athletic director at Clarkson University, where he curiously enough had to deal with a situation where their successful hockey allegedly retaliated against a player, who had supposedly been playing too roughly in a coaches vs. players scrimmage (SOURCES: PLAYER OBJECTED TO "RETALIATION' BY COACH Watertown Daily Times - Thursday, November 7, 2002.) Frazier immediately placed the coach on administrative leave, and proceeded to fire the coach after the investigation concluded.

After another hockey AD gig, Frazier moved to Wisconsin to head up their hockey program, and proceeded to continue his steady climb up the ladder. He was overseeing basketball until last year, and then took over Badger football in 2012 following a curious incident that appears to be the only public black eye on Frazier's record. At Wisconsin, Barry Alvarez is largely a figurehead, leaving day to day operations to his various deputies. Former Alvarez assistant John Chadima was in charge of the football program until a very ugly scandal came to light.

There is absolutely no suggestion that Alvarez or Frazier had any involvement in Chadima's actions, but they allegedly knew that he was inviting students under 21 to a party where alcohol was going to be served (CLUES TO DIG DEEPER - UW still has plenty of explaining to do in the wake of the investigation of John Chadima. Wisconsin State Journal - Thursday, January 26, 2012), and there had been previous reports of similar misdeeds from Chadima. Frazier and Alvarez were both cleared of all wrongdoing, and Alvarez subsequently promoted Frazier as his new top deputy last season, where he ran the day to day operations of the Badger football program. Rutgers should certainly ask all the appropriate questions about what happened there, but Frazier's previous performance in handling crises and controversy bodes well for overcoming a cycle of negative media coverage in recent months.