ASU alumnus, Olympic champion looks back on his career in athletics administration


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October 18, 2021

At the age of just 21, Herman Frazier won gold and bronze medals at the 1976 Olympic Games. Now, 45 years later, Frazier is honored by the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences at Arizona State University as one of the College Leaders for 2021.

Frazier, who received his bachelor’s degree in political science from ASU in 1977, first began college at Denison University. But after taking a semester in athletics, his talent for the sport was recognized. In 1975 he moved to ASU on a sports scholarship and took part in the 1976 Olympic Games in Montreal, where he won a gold medal in the 4×400 meter relay and an individual bronze medal in the 400 meter run.
Arizona State University alumnus Herman Frazier is honored by the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences as one of the College Leaders for 2021.
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Upon graduation, he was offered a position at Sun Devil Athletics. He stayed at the university for 23 years, working in the athletics administration, and eventually becoming a Senior Associate Athletic Director, leading ASU to one national title in athletics.

“After I got my Bachelor of Science degree in Political Science, I went to graduate school in Arizona State on the Public Administration Program. But while I was there I was hired by the university; then they took me out and elected me as the deputy athletic director, which made me responsible for the events and facilities when I was only 23. That was unheard of. It was an opportunity I just couldn’t turn down, ”said Frazier.

He is currently Senior Deputy Director of Athletics at Syracuse University, where he has been since 2011. Prior to Syracuse University, he held a number of sports director positions at universities across the country, including the University of Alabama at Birmingham, Temple University and the University of Hawaii at Manoa.

Here he shares more about his Sun Devil story, career, and advice for ASU students.

Question: What originally interested you in your course and how did it prepare you for your career?

Answers: I always wanted to be a lawyer. Although athletics got in my way, I got my bachelor’s degree in political science. … Many people say that I could probably have been politically active. With my job, I am involved in politics every day. It was no different from the Arizona state position or any of the other institutions I’ve worked at since Arizona state. There is no question that I deal with politics every day of my life. Even now, as Assistant Director of Athletics, for what I do here at Syracuse University, I am also a registered lobbyist for the university. So I’m going to Albany and lobbying various legislatures on behalf of Syracuse.

Q: What is your favorite part about your chosen career path?

A: First of all, I don’t see my job as work. I interviewed someone for a job and they asked me how I see my job? People ask me this question a lot. One of the things I tell them is that I’m really not working. My job is my hobby because when I get to work I just have so much fun. That being said, there are a lot of things that I have to do on a daily or weekly or monthly basis that are a little tiring and a little difficult. However, that’s only part of the job. I’m so happy that I chose the job I did and I wouldn’t want to do it any other way.

Q: What is your biggest motivation to be professionally successful?

A: My biggest motivation has always been to impress my parents. My parents taught me an education, and I was very fortunate to get an exercise scholarship and go to Arizona State University. As I sit here today to be selected for this award, I just wish my parents were alive so they could see this and be a part of it too. Because that’s how they raised me.

Q: What advice would you give the college students?

A: I would tell the students that you are at an age and time in your life where there is so much going on and you should take in all you can about knowledge and education and life lessons from college . Please use it. My three and a half years as a bachelor’s were some of the best years of my life; I didn’t want to leave college. I had so much fun and every day was a blessing. … I would tell all young people, even if you are not an athlete, enjoy college and all the things Arizona State University represents.

Question: What do you want to achieve in 10 years?

A: I will be retired and probably live in the Phoenix metropolitan area again, attending ASU soccer and basketball games and attending track meetings and, who knows, maybe even walking around campus trying to provide any kind of support that young people can get like need. As soon as I’ve hung it up here and have the time, I’m happy to help anyone who needs help.

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