Frazier finds footing

By Frank Gogola

With 20 phone calls and five meetings the day before the Fourth of July, athletic director Sean Frazier keeps his nose to the grindstone — that’s the kind of work ethic he brought with him to NIU.

Frazier, who celebrates his one-year anniversary at NIU on Wednesday, won’t even be taking the day off to relax. Instead, he’ll be attending a leadership retreat with NIU President Doug Baker.

“I will be in DeKalb on the 16th, celebrating the fact that I made it one year, and we’re going to be talking about how do we advance the goals of NIU,” Frazier said. “I think that’s what we’ll do is we might get a cupcake with a candle.”

While Frazier has been in the process of putting together his Facilities Master Plan, which will be completed around the middle of August, he has also put an emphasis on scheduling. He is continually elevating each team’s schedule and trying to bring top-notch competition to DeKalb.

“I’m extremely aggressive in that area,” Frazier said. “ … I like to say that it’s not a sometime thing, it’s an everyday thing. I have that schedule on my desk or underneath my pillow all the time.”

Although football went 12-0 during the regular season, men’s tennis won the MAC regular season championship and men’s basketball began to seemingly turn things around, Frazier said the student-athletes’ biggest achievement was in the classroom. There, they averaged a GPA over 3.0 both cumulatively as well as from semester to semester.

Frazier said one of the things he’d like to see more of is an increased engagement from the alumni base, which he felt was lacking in numbers.

Looking back one year, Frazier said coming to NIU after spending six years at the University of Wisconsin was the right decision.

“It was the right time and the right fit in the right region with the right mentality,” Frazier said. “I’m a working-class individual who rolls up the sleeves and gets it done. My motor is high, I’m a very intense individual and I see a lot of the alums, the students, the coaches [and] the staff really emulate exactly who I am. I am them, and they are I.”

After nearly one year immersed in the NIU/DeKalb culture, Frazier said he could see himself, his wife and their three children here for the long run.

“One of the toughest decisions I had to make leaving my last institution is that am I going to a place that’s going to be a stepping stone operation or is this going to be some place that we can build, develop and sustain,” Frazier said. “If we can build, develop and sustain, me and my family are very comfortable. … I could easily see this place as a place I spend many years at, no question about it.”