From real estate to his real love
After a year away from basketball, Frasor comes back as Rice’s coach
By Ken Karrson
Commercial real estate can’t compare to a courtside seat.
That’s the conclusion Bobby Frasor arrived at when he chose to pursue the vacant head-coaching position at his high school alma mater. One year away from basketball was all the Brother Rice graduate needed to reaffirm his love for the sport and opt for a career shift.
And the Rice administration helped solidify his decision by interviewing Frasor and then selecting him as the man to guide the Crusaders varsity hoops program next season. Frasor follows another alumnus, Rick Harrigan, who left the post after two seasons.
“I’m excited,” Frasor said in a telephone interview. “I was interested in this opportunity when it became available and I decided to take a run at it. It’s really something special coming back to Brother Rice.
“Just to be back in Chicago [is great]. I’ve got a passion for the city and I think the best high school basketball is played in [the] Chicago [area].”
Frasor, the son of former Eisenhower coach Bob Frasor, made his own mark in the local prep game and departed Rice as one of its most storied hoops performers. After getting named to the McDonald’s All-America team at the end of his senior year, Frasor moved on to the University of North Carolina where he played for Roy Williams and was a member of the Tar Heels' 2009 national championship squad.
With his father, Williams and former Crusaders boss Pat Richardson as mentors, Frasor feels he has a wealth of coaching sources from which to draw.
“It’s a huge advantage [to me] seeing how detailed they were, their organizational skills, how they motivate players and run practices,” he said. “Coach Richardson had a great offensive mind and was maniacal in scouting and Coach Williams was an unbelievable motivator. He’s been called overrated by some because of the talent he has around him, but it takes a lot of skill to be that successful for so long.”
Williams appointed Frasor to his staff after the latter spent one year playing professionally overseas. He was an assistant video coordinator and then moved on to the University of Alabama-Birmingham to serve as its director of basketball operations where he was in charge “of stuff I didn’t really enjoy doing.”
While Frasor had an urge to get into coaching, he was prohibited by NCAA rules of having contact with athletes. His ultimate desire was to get “a chance to have my fingerprints on a program.”
But before that happened he chose to exit the athletic world and enter the corporate one as an employee for a real estate firm in Raleigh, N.C. Frasor obtained the job through networking and was grateful for it, but it didn’t satisfy him any more fully than his previous basketball post.
Basketball, though, understandably remained in his blood. Frasor said that even if the Rice position hadn’t opened up, he was giving strong consideration to returning to the area, saying he “followed those [coaching] movements every March.”
Being able to fulfill a dream he’s had for a long time at a place he once called home for four years simply made the decision a slam dunk.
“We have a young group of guys that are talented, and to be a mentor and role model for them is pretty cool,” Frasor said. “It’s been 10 years since I’ve been in a high school setting, but I do have an idea of what they go through.
“I know they have goals and dreams and when finals week is coming up how tough it is keep everything balanced. They’re [probably] going to be a little more open to having me around because they’ll be able to relate to me a little easier than they would to someone with gray hair who’s much older [than them].”
Of course, that doesn’t mean Frasor will be opposed to picking the brains of those who are older than he -- his father has already given Frasor “his two cents on high school parents.” And how willing will those parents and a Crusaders fan base spoiled by Richardson’s success that spanned nearly a quarter century be to grant Frasor a proper breaking-in period?
That remains to be seen, but he says he wouldn’t want to be coming in with lowered expectations.
“You’d much rather have [to reach high] than say, ‘Let’s play the underdog role every game,’” Frasor said. “It’s fun to have talent. Coach Richardson built a very well-respected program people probably felt overachieved a lot of the time, but that’s a dream of mine to get it back to that level.
“This is a highly coveted job and it gets my juices going knowing I’m the one that’s responsible for doing the planning and preparing. I’m thankful for it.”
Among those players scheduled to return in the fall to play for Frasor are all-area selection Mike Shepski, honorable mention Jake Kosakowski, Josh Niego and Morgan Taylor, all of whom have at least two years of eligibility remaining.