Frazier highly regarded by those who know him
By Stacy Kaneshiro
Advertiser Staff Writer
Those who will eventually work with Herman Frazier hope he can lead the University of Hawai'i into the higher echelon of intercollegiate athletics. Those who have already been associated with him believe he can.
Frazier is expected to be introduced as UH's new athletic director tomorrow by the UH Board of Regents. He will succeed Hugh Yoshida, who retires in December.
"I don't know anything about him, but I'm looking forward to him leading us in to the future," said James Burns, president of the UH booster club Ahahui Koa Anuenue. "We're in a transition period. If we're going into first-class Division I, we need an athletic director who can get us there."
Na Koa football booster club president Don Murphy said Frazier "certainly seems to have the proper pedigree. I hope he's the right guy. I wish him the best of luck in the world."
Frazier moved up the administrative ladder during this 23-year association at Arizona State, where he reached as high as senior associate athletic director. He then became athletic director at Alabama-Birmingham in October 2000. He will leave Alabama-Birmingham in the middle of a three-year contract that paid him $175,000 annually.
Former Bowl Games of Hawai'i executive director Lenny Klompus has known Frazier for 10 years through associations with the Aloha Bowl and Pac-10. Klompus described Frazier as "an engaging, articulate gentleman." Frazier was at Arizona State, when the Sun Devils played here in the 2000 Aloha Bowl.
"He obviously knows the landscape of the sports world," Klompus said.
Klompus said Frazier was attentive to details in meetings and always sought what was best for everyone.
"He's well-respected in the athletic community," Klompus said. "He cares very much about people and cares about making things work. (At Arizona State), he was responsible for the whole department, the main guy. I think he'd be terrific (at UH). He'll mold well into the community. People will like him."
Sports agent Leigh Steinberg, whose firm has been in charge of marketing UH sports the past two years, is familiar with Frazier. Steinberg, who had represented a number of athletes coming out of Arizona State, knew of Frazier through then-ASU athletic director Kevin White.
"Kevin White spoke highly of him," Steinberg said. "(Frazier) was seen as someone with enormous potential. At Arizona State, he was clearly on the rise. He combined that first person experience as a talented athlete with good administrative skills and great vision. He's someone who certainly would be a worthy candidate."
UH's marketing deal with Steinberg expires at the end of the month. Steinberg said he is confident the contract will be renewed.
Western Athletic Conference commissioner Karl Benson, once mentioned in association with the UH job, has known Frazier since 1986.
"I consider Herman a friend and look forward to working with him," Benson said.
Besides his background in collegiate administration, Frazier also has been involved with the Olympics, serving as one of three vice presidents of the United State Olympic Committee at one time. That bodes well for UH track coach Carmyn James. She said she would like to see UH eventually host some international running events.
"With his international experience as an administrator, he's an asset to our program," James said.
James said she hasn't met Frazier, but said assistant Andy McInnis was familiar with Frazier's Olympic history.
While at Arizona State, Frazier was the 400-meter champion during the Sun Devils' national championship season of 1977. Frazier also won a gold medal in the 4x400 relay and a bronze in the 400 at the 1976 Olympics in Montreal.