June 25, 1933|
Nutley, New Jersey
January 20, 2013 (aged 79)|
|Coaching career (HC unless noted)|
|Head coaching record|
|Accomplishments and honors|
1982 College World Series|
1985 College World Series
College Baseball Hall of Fame|
Inducted in 2006
Nicknamed the "Wizard of College Baseball," he was one of the most successful coaches in NCAA baseball history, and was also responsible for bringing college baseball to a new level of public awareness. The Miami Hurricanes baseball team went from being on the brink of being "contracted" to being the toast of college baseball under Fraser's tenure.
Early years as player and coach
Born and reared in Nutley, New Jersey, Fraser was a three-sport letterman at Nutley High School where he graduated in 1953. After graduation, he played baseball for Florida State University from 1954 to 1956 as a relief pitcher. At Florida State he joined Theta Chi. After that he was in the Army for some years, stationed in Germany and the Netherlands. He became manager of the national team of Germany and after the 1958 European championship, he managed the Netherlands until 1963. In 1963, Fraser took a head coaching job with the University of Miami, a school which did not offer its baseball players a scholarship. Even though the school did not begin to offer scholarships until 1973, Fraser built a respectable program through hard work and endless promotions. Some of the people Fraser brought in to bring publicity to the program were Major League Baseball Hall of Famers Ted Williams and Stan Musial, as well as announcer Joe Garagiola. In 1974, Miami was runner-up to the University of Southern California, a perennial college baseball powerhouse. The previous year, Miami started a record streak of consecutive postseason appearances in college baseball, a record which as of the 2016 season is still being added to. Also in 1973, Mark Light Stadium was built in large part to efforts by Fraser to build a privately funded stadium.
The 1980s were a time of great change in Miami athletics. The Miami Hurricanes football team, considered the team of the decade by many pundits, won championships in 1983, 1987 and 1989. While the success of Miami football seemed to eclipse much of the success of the baseball program, '80s Miami baseball was in many ways, the golden era of Fraser's Miami Hurricanes. Miami won its first two college world series in 1982 and 1985. While opponents' fans often criticized Hurricane football fans for not selling out the Orange Bowl. Mark Light Stadium was almost always a full house for Hurricane baseball games and Fraser's Hurricanes drew 1.27 million fans in the '80s, the best in college baseball. In 1992, Fraser retired as coach of Miami baseball, and for a short time was head of the U.S. Amateur National Baseball Team. The building that houses the baseball offices is named after him, the Ron Fraser Building.
Fraser's impact on college sports
Fraser's impact on college baseball, University of Miami athletics, and college athletics in general is hard to overestimate. In the mid 1970s when Hurricane football was on the verge of being eliminated, Fraser's resurrection of Miami baseball was a useful model. The University knew that with the right football coach in place, Miami could do the same thing in football that it did in baseball. Without that model, Miami might have just dropped football unceremoniously. Fraser was also instrumental in lobbying ESPN to broadcast college baseball games, something which is now part of their rotation of spring sports. Fraser also helped get the momentum going to reinstate Miami's dormant basketball program which has seen sporadic success. Ron Fraser's special gift for promotion has served as a model for many college Olympic sports programs around the country which have traditionally had difficulty attracting spectators.
Head coaching record
|Miami (Independent) (1963–1992)|
|1974||Miami||51-11||College World Series Runner-up|
|1978||Miami||50-12||College World Series|
|1979||Miami||55-11||College World Series|
|1980||Miami||59-12||College World Series|
|1981||Miami||61-10||College World Series|
|1982||Miami||55-17-1||College World Series Champions|
|1984||Miami||48-28||College World Series|
|1985||Miami||64-16||College World Series Champions|
|1986||Miami||50-17||College World Series|
|1988||Miami||52-14-1||College World Series|
|1989||Miami||49-18||College World Series|
|1992||Miami||55-10||College World Series|
Postseason invitational champion