Hawaii’s accomplishments have quieted Frazier's critics
A FEW months ago, the townsfolk descended on Herman (Franken) Frazier's domain with the full intent of removing him from office.
Local senators and congressmen were heeding the call of a few well-intentioned lads and lasses who believed Frazier was part of the bygone era of Evan Dobelle, and should be dealt with accordingly. Hearings were held, audits were threatened and stories were written questioning the leadership and accountability of one Mr. Herman Frazier.
At the top of the hit list were lack of private funding for a beleaguered athletic department, a dwindling fan base and not scheduling 13 football games when the team was at its best -- a reflection on what had gone wrong under Frazier's regime.
Granted, Frazier hasn't done everything right since inheriting a program that was closer to Division II than ESPN. And it's hard to trust a man who shakes hands like he's taking a baton in a relay race. But with the help of June Jones, Dave Shoji, Mike Trapasso, Bob Coolen and Mike Wilton, Frazier was able to point to several success stories in his defense.
True, he had to raise ticket prices with a football team in transition. The mishandling of Riley Wallace's final years at the helm of a sagging basketball program was uncomfortable for everyone. And there have been some troubling allegations coming from the inner halls of his own department.
These are just a few observations that make you wonder what the heck is going on up there, but they pale in comparison to the potential gold mine Frazier is helping excavate. Ironically, all the hoopla about the schedule has turned into a stroke of genius. The first bye actually helped the Warriors in the BCS poll and the second one is unlikely to hurt much, if at all.
HIS CRITICS COUNTER that Hawaii would already be in the top 12 of the BCS if not for the schedule, and it has weighed down the Warriors, no doubt. But if Boise and Hawaii are unbeaten in conference play coming into their Nov. 23 matchup, then a victory for UH would be enough to put them into position for a BCS bowl bid. The human polls will reserve a top-10 ranking for an 11-0 team.
Even if Hawaii does stumble, as so many unbeatens have done before them, Hawaii's mainland exposure in the coming months via ESPN is publicity you can't buy for the school or the state. All of Hawaii's remaining games are not only on national television, but the three at home will draw in excess of 40,000 each night, filling the athletic department coffers with much-needed change.
It's an about-face worthy of comparisons to the Manoa miracle of '99, especially if the Warriors do what would have been the unimaginable last summer, and run the table for a BCS bowl bid worth millions more. The financial problems the athletic department faces will be over with very quickly if Hawaii goes 12-0, leaving Frazier as the man about town, detractors be damned.
Sports Editor Paul Arnett
has been covering sports for the Star-Bulletin since 1990. Reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org