Frazier gets himself some breathing room
THERE was a phone call, last week, from a reader. He seemed to be a well-reasoned, quiet, intelligent person. Not some wild-eyed nut. A nice, regular local guy. But he wanted to know something. Why had I been so easy on Herman Frazier?
I said I had written about Herman Frazier.
And the man said, "Not every day."
So today, the obvious question is, does the embattled Hawaii athletic director get a little breathing room with the hiring of local hero Bob Nash as the 'Bows' new basketball coach?
It's amazing how good this hiring of Nash feels. How good? Well, Friday, Frazier got to say something that was followed by applause. I would have taken bets that wouldn't have ever happened again. Not here.
That he beat out every other applicant, that this was the ultimate happy ending, that it feels this good, tells you everything about Bob Nash.
But the way this played out tells you a lot about Frazier, too.
ADs edge out high-profile coaches for a reason. This was going to be a splash hire, a this-is-my-legacy hire. This was going to really show us what kind of wheeler and dealer, what kind of high-powered mover and shaker Frazier really is.
Let's be clear -- Nash was and is the best man for the job, and I've said that from the beginning, as have many others. And not because he's entitled to anything, but because he's earned everything. He earned this, too. The hard way.
"It was a battle," Nash said Friday of winning over Frazier, "but he's a smart man."
And it was a laugh line, but I think in the end, that's exactly how it went.
I love the comment that Bob Nash is not the same Bob Nash he was before this long, drawn-out, overdue process began. Um ... OK. I can kind of see what Frazier means, Nash has grown, sure. But it's true in the same way that Frazier said on the radio a few weeks ago, when asked if he'd learned anything from his football-scheduling mess, that well, he learns something every day. Also true. But that also misses the point.
Bob Nash is not ready to be a head coach because of the last few weeks. Nash is ready to be a head coach because of the last 20 years.
Frazier is onto something with that comment, but I'm going to turn it around. We all know why an athletic director orchestrates an opening. But in the end, Frazier looked at the guys that he'd been able to find for this job and finally realized they couldn't fill it as well as the man who was already there. And so instead of picking his own man he did the right thing and hired the right man. The best man.
I would like to think that it's true, there was some heavy personal growth going on during this process. Maybe the Herman Frazier we see today isn't the Herman Frazier we saw three weeks ago.