Ron Fraser

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For other people with the same name, see Ronald Fraser.
Ron Fraser
Ron Fraser.jpg
Sport(s) Baseball
Biographical details
Born June 25, 1933
Nutley, New Jersey
Died January 20, 2013(2013-01-20) (aged 79)
Weston, Florida
Coaching career (HC unless noted)
1963-1992 Miami (FL)
Head coaching record
Overall 1,271-438-9
Accomplishments and honors
Championships
1982 College World Series
1985 College World Series
College Baseball Hall of Fame
Inducted in 2006

Ronald "Ron" Fraser (June 25, 1933 – January 20, 2013) was the college baseball coach at the University of Miami from 1963 to 1992.

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[edit]

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[edit]

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[edit]

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.

Death[edit]

Fraser died on January 20, 2013 at his home in Weston, Florida of complications from Alzheimer's disease.[1][2]

Head coaching record[edit]

Season Team Overall Conference Standing Postseason
Miami (Independent) (1963–1992)
1963 Miami 18-9
1964 Miami 20-9-1
1965 Miami 23-12-1
1966 Miami 19-18-1
1967 Miami 23-15-1
1968 Miami 27-11-1
1969 Miami 31-11
1970 Miami 28-15-1
1971 Miami 35-11 NCAA District
1972 Miami 32-17
1973 Miami 42-17 NCAA District
1974 Miami 51-11 College World Series Runner-up
1975 Miami 45-14 NCAA Regional
1976 Miami 41-15 NCAA Regional
1977 Miami 44-13 NCAA Regional
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
1983 Miami 61-21 NCAA Regional
1984 Miami 48-28 College World Series
1985 Miami 64-16 College World Series Champions
1986 Miami 50-17 College World Series
1987 Miami 35-24-1 NCAA Regional
1988 Miami 52-14-1 College World Series
1989 Miami 49-18 College World Series
1990 Miami 52-13 NCAA Regional
1991 Miami 46-17 NCAA Regional
1992 Miami 55-10 College World Series
Miami: 1,271–438–9
Total: 1,271–438–9

      National champion         Postseason invitational champion  
      Conference regular season champion         Conference regular season and conference tournament champion
      Division regular season champion       Division regular season and conference tournament champion
      Conference tournament champion

See also[edit]

References[edit]