Star-Bulletin Sports

Friday, June 21, 2002



Hawaii welcomes
Frazier as AD today

Final approval is expected to be
a formality; a news conference
is planned for this afternoon

Herman Frazier timeline
Ticket-price hike advances

By Dave Reardon

Herman Frazier says he knows his way around Oahu pretty well. But it still helped that Phil and Pat Lillie, friends from Arizona who have a home here, were available to drive him around the island yesterday afternoon.

"We took a look at some of the different neighborhoods," Frazier said.

The University of Hawaii's new athletics director could afford to spend some time house-hunting -- the employment process was just about completed.

Barring the unexpected at the Board of Regents meeting this morning, Frazier will be announced as UH-Manoa's new AD today. A news conference and reception was planned for this afternoon.

"I'm looking forward to getting everything confirmed," Frazier said.

He resigned as University of Alabama at Birmingham athletics director late yesterday, he said.

Frazier was approved by the BOR's personnel and legal affairs committee yesterday after UH President Evan Dobelle submitted Frazier's name to the board Wednesday.

"His name will now be given to the (complete) board for final approval," UH Vice President and spokesman Paul Costello said.

A week ago most UH sports fans -- and, for that matter, coaches -- didn't know much of anything about the Blazers athletics director. Today, Frazier becomes the head of the biggest sports program in the state. He replaces Hugh Yoshida, who retires after nearly 10 years.

Frazier, 46, spent yesterday morning on the UH lower campus, visiting the facilities and meeting coaches, administrators and staff.

He huddled with Yoshida for about 45 minutes.

"I think he's going to be a good fit," Yoshida said. "The style will be one where people can relate. We just touched on a few issues, nothing real concrete. We talked about getting him out to meet the right people, and a lay of the land."

Yoshida, whose contract ends in December, said he will make himself available to assist Frazier.

Frazier, a Fiesta Bowl board member, also had an hourlong conversation with football coach June Jones yesterday.

"He's a people guy and he's got what seems like a lot of leadership skill and the right type of personality for Hawaii," Jones said. "I feel very positive. I have a lot of loyalty to Dick (Tomey) and Jim (Donovan), but now it's time for all of us to jump on board and get behind Herman."

Tomey, the former UH football coach, and Donovan, the current UH associate athletics director, were considered the top local candidates for the job. Some of their supporters feel the two did not get enough attention in the selection process. Both were among around 10 finalists, but neither was interviewed by Eastman & Beaudine, the search firm that approached Frazier about UH.

Donovan will probably leave his position, but has indicated he is willing to help Frazier if that's what the new AD wants.

Frazier appeared to be on his way out at UAB. After 23 successful years as an athletics administrator at Arizona State, Frazier became the Blazers athletics director in August 2000. His tenure in Birmingham has received mixed reviews at best, and he leaves with the department in a $7.5 million deficit. The program was already in trouble when he arrived, but critics say Frazier couldn't raise money to cut into the debt.

UAB hired a senior associate athletics director of fundraising and marketing to fill a newly created position Monday. This could be interpreted as a strong signal that even if Frazier had stayed, his authority would have been lessened. Some say that the deck was stacked against him from the beginning.

"Herman busted his butt for UAB athletics," Blazers track and field coach Brian Funk told the Birmingham Post-Herald. "I'm not sure the Board of Trustees wanted him to succeed.

"The people with the money to make this a good program don't care enough to make that a reality."

At UH, Frazier enters a situation with its own set of financial challenges, including what will likely be a $1 million deficit for the just-completed school year and approval of new contracts or renegotiations for successful coaches like Jones, basketball's Riley Wallace and men's volleyball's Mike Wilton.

Television and marketing contracts are still being ironed out, budgets for next year are in the works, and the booster clubs have just been streamlined along with the addition of premium charges for season tickets.

If personality and first impressions mean anything, Frazier is off to a good start.

All who meet him seem to like him right away. Even his critics in Birmingham could find little to fault him with personally.

"Firm handshake," said Pakalani Bello of the UH Media Relations Department after being introduced to Frazier yesterday.

In addition to his meetings with Yoshida and Jones, Frazier made some time for coaches from the so-called minor sports yesterday. After all, he does come from a track and field background.

"I got a very positive impression from him," UH diving coach Mike Brown said. "He seemed very genuine and interested in doing all he can for all the university's teams and athletes. He speaks Olympics. That's a real plus for us."

Details of Frazier's contract with UH were not immediately available, but it is expected he will agree to a deal paying him $180,000 a year for three years. He was in the second year of a three-year deal with UAB that paid $175,000 per year.

Frazier is on several NCAA committees, but his sports contacts extend beyond the college realm. He is on the U.S. Olympic Committee, and worked often with the NFL while he was at Arizona State.

"Herman was at Arizona State in 1996 when we were there for the Super Bowl," said NFL Senior Vice President Jim Steeg. "Tom Sadler, our main contact, spoke often about what an unbelievably great guy he was.

"I see him as a guy that as we move ahead in our relationship with the state and the university playing a big role.

"He has great people skills. That's really important here. He's able to listen and understand people from many different backgrounds."


Herman Frazier timeline

1956: Born in Philadelphia.
1976: Gold medalist in 4x400 meter relay, bronze medalist in 4x100 relay at Olympic Games.
1977: Captain of Arizona State's national championship track and field team.
1978: Begins 23-year ASU administrative career as graduate assistant track and field coach.
1996: Fiesta Bowl vice president.
1996: U.S. Olympic Committee vice president.
1996-2000: Arizona State senior associate athletics director for business and operations.
1998-99: Fiesta Bowl chairman.
2000-02: Alabama-Birmingham athletics director.
2002-?: Hawaii athletics director.

UH Athletics


Ticket-price hike
moves ahead

By Dave Reardon

The University of Hawaii Board of Regents yesterday advanced a proposal from UH's athletic department to raise season-ticket prices via premium seat donations in football, volleyball and men's basketball.

The proposal, which could raise more than $900,000, passed committee and was expected to be approved by the entire BOR today.

"We don't anticipate any problem," UH athletics director Hugh Yoshida said last night.

In football, season-ticket packages will be charged a once-per-season $25 or $50 premium. In the three arena sports, some seats will have a $40 premium. Because they are donations, some of the premium can be written off for tax purposes.

Also, the proposal calls for premium charges for volleyball matches involving better-quality opponents.

All season-ticket holders who buy premium seating will become members of 'Ahahui Koa Anuenue, the booster organization for UH sports.

UH Athletics

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