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January 21, 2013

R.I.P., Ron Fraser: Legendary former Hurricanes baseball coach passes away after lengthy fight with Alzheimer's

[1) It is SUNDAY, JANUARY 20. Bro Bowl! 49ers oust Falcons, 28-24, then Ravens upset Patriots, 28-13, making it a Harbaugh vs. Harbaugh Super Bowl. Find our NFL championship-Sunday playoff post in the blog directly below this. 2) Heat today signed Chris "Birdman" Andersen to a 10-day contract, news that seems irrelevant in the context of the loss in the UM family. 3) Join us on Twitter @gregcote]

1aa1fraserrWE SAY GOODBYE TO RON FRASER, A CANES AND SOUTH FLORIDA SPORTS LEGEND: Fraser's passing was announced just before 1 p.m. today. A statement from a family spokesperson read: "It is with profound sorrow we announce the passing of Ron Fraser, husband, father, grandfather, uncle and coach. He was surrounded by his family, after a valiant and courageous battle with Alzheimer's. Arrangements are pending."

Fraser coached University of Miami baseball from 1963 through 1992, and won College World Series championships in 1982 and '85. He was 79. I had known of Ron's fight with Alzheimer's for years but did not write of it out of respect for the family's wishes.

Click here to watch the 5-minute video from Ron's 1995 induction into the UM Sports Hall of Fame.

My most recent column on Fraser was not quite a year ago, on Feb. 17, 2012. I reprint it here, only slightly edited, with great respect:

The concept of time flying surely requires no additional evidence, but I would offer this: The University of Miami is about to begin its 20th baseball season since the retirement of the program's iconic and great coach, Ron Fraser.

It seems like a proper time to reflect, and to appreciate.

Today's Hurricanes - many not born when the "Wizard of College Baseball" left -- are trying to get back to the College World Series after a three-year absence, and the fact a drought so modest weighs in as so unacceptable and nearly unheard of -- simply reflects the standard Fraser set.
UM opens its 2012 season in a stadium officially and elaborately called Mark Light Field at Alex Rodriguez Park.
The name is all wrong, of course.
It should be Ron Fraser Stadium. Just that.
George and Ethel Light were generous to donate in the 1970s to the creation of the ballpark and name it after their son Mark, who had died of muscular dystrophy, Miami's famed A-Rod more recently donated $3.9 million for major renovations.
With due respect to those donors, though, Fraser gave more than money to UM baseball. He donated his life, 30 years of it anyway, to rescue a program from the edge of being abolished and see it to the nation's top echelon of success. Along the way, he lifted an entire sport with his salesmanship and marketing sense as the single most important figure in college baseball history.
Fraser is Hurricanes baseball, for sure, and although the Light and Rodriguez names should continue to have their place at the park, the only name on the front of it should be that of the man without whom the stadium would not exist at all. There might be legal hurdles to such a change; they should be overcome.
At the very least, UM should build a statue of Fraser in front of the ballpark, a plan that has been in the talking stage for years and should be made to happen without more delay.
Fraser is 78 now and battling serious health issues; he was unable to be interviewed for this column. All the more reason for that reflection, and appreciation. And for that statue.
What Fraser resurrected, shaped and raised has become the greatest constant on South Florida's tumultuous sports landscape. Canes baseball wins. Relentlessly. The streak of consecutive winning seasons now stands at 54. The consecutive regional (playoff) appearances are a current 39 years, an NCAA record. The CWS national titles Fraser won in 1982 and '85 have been augmented by the two championships led by current coach Jim Morris in 1999 and 2001.
Trace all of it to Fraser arriving on campus in 1963, right around the time "Beatlemania" entered the lexicon. He took on a sinking program that had no money, no uniforms, no scholarships and was about to be erased as a failed experiment by the administration. A box of new baseballs was such an extravagance then that Ron once told me he used to dip scuffed, used baseballs in Pet milk to whiten them for re-use.
He departed in 1992 after 30 years and 30 winning seasons, his legacy one of success, marketing genius and a little gem of a stadium that exists only because he dreamed it.
Fraser is UM's Don Shula, a higher compliment I cannot find.
Morris, beginning his 19th season, was a wonderful choice to replace Fraser and has maintained the winning tradition, but he understands the footsteps and the shadow, too. Those exist almost two decades later. No one is more appreciative of Fraser than the man who inherited what he'd left -- the tradition and the burden as well.
"I remember telling Ron, 'Coach, this is like replacing Bear Bryant, ' " Morris recalled. "Coach Fraser is a father figure, and the most influential guy in my coaching career."
Morris reigns over a program now whose baseballs gleam pearly white inside stacks of boxes, no Pet milk needed anymore to give scuffed old baseballs a makeover.
The newest Hurricanes will run onto the home diamond as the ballpark fills, and it doesn't matter what the name on the outside might say, this is The House that Fraser Built, and always will be.
Twenty years later. Imagine that?
Thank you, Ron.



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A true legend. Rip.

A truly great loss for UM, and a greater loss for the US baseball scene.
Prayers to the family of one of the truly spectacular individuals to ever walk across the field of play.

RIP Mr. Fraser....a great loss for the U

Coach was a legend to many.

In the 70's I met a baseball player who played for the Seminoles..He asked me if I was familiar with Coach Fraser and I said he was a Good Coach.
He corrected me and said "He is a GREAT Coach!."
I asked why and he told me the following:
This high school baseball player was recruited by Coach and although they were amicable he chose FSU over Miami..
He did very well there and Coach Fraser although an opponent would call and congratulate him as he watched him progress through the years... Whenever Mike the player was in town he would call Coach and they would have lunch and visit..
Not only did they become very good friends but this player went on to become an Executive in a Fortune 500 Company, and would send me notes on Coach and our team although he played as a Seminole, and kept very aware of our Baseball program because of Coach Fraser.
He went on to be on the Olympic Planning Committee for Atlanta, and still kept in touch with Coach, through the years.
Coach touched even the players who played against him.
That in itself shows the type of man, the personality of a Leader, and a keen Competitor, that made a big difference.
Greg, I agree, we should do something for Coach Fraser to recognize his contribution, and to honor a Real, True original Cane, who wrote the book on Class and Winning.
Rest In Peace Coach, and thanks.

OC, you'll never believe this. Hell I don't believe it myself but I just found myself silently rooting for New England to win it all. I mean what has gotten in too me...

Duke, I'm going to pretend that I never read that statement.


Don't have a horse in this race, but I would hate to be a Falcon's fan and watch an official decide who goes to the Super Bowl by throwing a questionable flag (thereby keeping a touchdown drive alive) on a brush, a brush, mind you, to the helmet of a stout Kaepernick.

Atlanta outplayed them and should have won.

OC Dolphin,

that brush to kaepernik's head was no diffrent to the one called against seattle when the seahawks were down here and negated an interception that would have preserved seattle's 21-14 lead- from there the dolphins scored a TD and went on to win.

it is hard to say atlanta outplayed them when they couldn't hold a 17-0 lead at home and it wouldhave been worse had crabtree not fumbled at the goal line- which would have been the beginning of a possible rout. the falcons couldn't run, the 49ers could and that was the story of the game after the falcons jumped out to a big lead early at home.

So sorry t larn about one passing my condolences to Karen and the Frasr family. Ron was not only a legend heat teacher but an outstanding human being I always my cherished my relationship with Ro but like many others prospered because of our relationship ron will always be rembered and may his memory be eternal on behalf of all the Canes Ron a big thank you. Sam Jankovich


colin k has a rocket arm and puts the ball right onto the hands of his passscatchers in addition to his running ability. and frank gore, who came back from horrific knee injuries, is a humble and modest human thankful for the opportunity to play when things looked dark for his career. he is right behind davone bess as my favorite players. plus, the 49ers away unis are the best road outfits in the NFL. how about NE in their throwbacks with the patriot hiking logo and SF away; i don't remember who is the "home" team this year.


the departure of noted hebe arthur blank's atlanta falcons means that robert kraft is the only yid owner left in the playoffs. they made such a big deal about tony dungy going against lovie smith in that rainy SB i would have imagined that they would have given the same treatment to the foreskin-deprived robert kraft facing another foreskin-less owner in arthur blank in this wonderful land of opportunity called the USA-G-d bless america!!!

shadow, perhaps so (brush on Dolphins helmet), but the Dolphins were not aiming to go to the SB. A harsher pummeling of Ryan by the SF lineman on that last drive was far worse. I just can't see throwing that flag at that specific play and juncture of the game. SF was stopped and would not have gone on to score on that particular drive.

Now all that needs to happen is for NE to win this game and guarantee that I'll opt out for anything else, including root canal, rather than watch the SB game.

You guys think the Ravens can pull off a miracle here?

I hope so...

matt ryan Sucks!!

We all Know who is going to win today!! Pats!

Hey, the Heat just signed Chris 'Birdman' Anderson...The guy looks like he should be at the circus..Let's hope he can rebound.

Like if NE needed any help, now you got the facking zebras giving them all the calls.

Hey boys!!


so right about the heat's new player- absolutely belongs in a freak show and will be there after his ten day contract expires. he is an example of why i prefer basketball on radio- no visuals of inked up individuals that look beastly.


the best hitter in the national league for quite awhile, avg and power, a real gentleman and a guy whose bat bag pete rose couldn't carry; twice RBI king and seven time batting champ, including three in a row. a real ambassador for the game and the greatest cardinal of them all, and being better than rogers hornsby is not easy.

Yep, Stan Musial. #4 in hits. I know about him from books and films since he was before my tume. Class athlete and all around person. He received the medal of honor 2 years ago, i think at the state if the union or something. Married 70 years. No salary disputes. No steroids. Just pure performance enhancing exercise.

By the way, go Ravens! Now 21-13.

OC, the interstate highway system was federally funded, why not high speed rail? Work for people, remove some reliance on oil, travel that makes sense and is easier to deal with than flying for short and medium range. As it is, rail travel was way up last year. China just completed the longest high speed line in the world. Some 2500 miles, and it's not dine yet. Supposed to reach Hong Kong eventually. I hate us standing by while much of the advanced world keeps advancing ther way of lives. Wheras we fight hard to keep status quo.

I was in miami for 2 weeks over the holidays. I can see why fans are fair weather. There simply is too much to do than spend your time in front if tv or at baseball stadium. I was out everyday, some all day and night. I only saw 2 bowl games. Orange bowl, my friend had tickets. And the championship. On occasion, i caught glances of other games while on south beach or brickell, etc. Was in the midst of both pep rallies on the beach. Lot of nice ladies, mostly for Alabama.but ND had the better pep rally. Coukdve been some 20k on the beach. Lou Holts, Theisman, Martin Short all spoke. I spoke to Theisman for a second, told him great save vs the Ohins in the Super Bowl. Miami wouldve won as their lead would be unsurmountable at that point. Everyone remembers the Riggins run, but Theisman made the game saving play - unfortunately for us


did you see man u/tottenham today? tremendous game in the snow with a last second equalizer by america's best, clint dempsey.

also, you and Kazaam ought to feel good as the ravens are in control. only saw the play once, but looked like the ball came loose when ridley hit the ground. thought the ravens were the best in the NFL at the outset of the season, and if there is a harbaugh SB would pose no problems with me. brady plays with a bunch of nobodies and having gronkowski out really hurts them. game ain't over and i can't understand why they didn't take three points last drive instead of a failed 4th down effort.

Holy shit !!!!

The Ravens are going to win this game !!!!

2 minute warning...


Fack you beli cheat...sorry Naples.


the first time two brothers coached against each other in the SB was when tony dungy and lovie smith tangled on that rainy day a few years ago; wasn't it here in miami?

Ray, my next prediction? Coach J. Harbaugh's team will win the SB!!!!

What's better than Bellicheat refusing a press conference after LOSING to the RAVENS???

RIP to Coach Ron Fraser, Stan Musial and Earl Weaver. Baseball was made better because of them.

Hey COTE!!! Why does Bellicheat get a pass on the press conference after a game of this magnitude? If the coach won't talk demand to see Kraft!!! You're the media, why wimp out?

Hey Guys!

I won't miss NE in the Super Bowl. At all! No seriously!


Is it true that Billychek hasn't won a SB since he got caught cheating? O dear.

The early Vegas line has established the Ravens as five point underdogs. The betting favorite has won six of the past nine Super Bowls. I sure hope Baltimore makes it 40%.

How big a grin do you think Rex Ryan is wearing right about now? Are there actually any non-Patriot football coaches, players, fans who are saddened by them not participating in the SB...again!?

Mike1, the Federally funded program you reference (Interstate Hwy. system) was started back in 1956 by President Eisenhower, and back when our country actually had a budget surplus.

Slowly from that point, the growth of the Cold War, and subsequent funding, caused deficits lasting some 45 years until President Reagan ended it by strategically outspending the USSR into submission. Naturally, Bill Clinton took credit for a new surplus he inherited as the result of billions slashed across the entire military apparatus.

Starting in 2008, President Obama took irresponsible expenditures President Bush was spending and for the next four years, to it to heights never seen before in American history (see attached link).

While I can appreciate anyone's elan for social improvements, certain annoying, pragmatic fiscal realities tend to get in the way and spoil an otherwise perfect utopia.


So, Mike, the question to you sir is this. How would you fund your 400 billion train travel project?

Before you answer, please consider that our government currently borrows $10.5 billion each and every single day. By that number, we could build your train set in just 38 days, but for that this government can't seem to STOP buying stuff on loan to save its life!!!!!

We may be going bankrupt as a nation and can ill afford bullet trains, but heck, look on the bright side, the Patriots lost!

OC Dolphin, WE the PEOPLE, have given to the WORLD, more as a nation than any country on earth....EVER!! So yeah! EVERY ONE OWES US!!!!! CHINA more than anyone!!! The USA saved them from the Japanese!

Those 14 countries that have passed us up as best places to live must be doing something right. Once upon a time we were #1. I guess 15th out of 210 countries is still pretty good. China is not even in that top 15 list, but they can manage gorgeous skylines, a 20 mile maglev line in Shanghai, and a near 3000 mies high speed rail. In the past, didnt the US pull improve defecits by having useful projects that created jobs and hence spending money to spur growth? Also, an independent study says that if the health cAre plan is terminated, the deficit will increase. Whereas it will ultimately improve having it. I didnt yet read the details and cant explain it.
I'm not one of them, but every time i go to miami it sure seems like there are a lot of wealthy people. People lined up into Collins Ave 3 day weekend just to get into Club Liv. And Houston supposedly has 90,000 millionaires, not counting value of primary resudence.

This is going to be the first Super Bowl in ages that I will enjoy. I don't hate either team. I dont care who wins, i'll be happy with a great game. I'll probably lean towards Colin Football Kaepernick due to the amazing surprise that he is. What must be going through Alex Smith's mind. He's in the super bowl, but won't pay. All these superstar big name Qb's in the league and none of them made it. Flacco vs Kaepernick, who wouldve thought.

Cote! Great SB matchup! How's the media going exploit it? After all, you NEVER let the facts get in the way of a good story!

Don't worry FZB. In my heart of hearts I will always be a Dolphin fan first and foremost.

Congratulations Kaz! Now I can root for your team to win it all. Perhaps I should just stay out of it given what ah happened to the Patz...

My friend OC,

Regarding Obama's run-away spending, The "Liberales" will rather go on living in their own make believe little world sort of hoping things will fix themselves.

they elected this clown Obi for 4 moe years, nothing we can do now amigo, just sit back and relax.

hehehe, the great Beli-Cheater was doing his post game interview with the press yesterday (NFL Network) and he looked like he hadn't taken a shit in about a week and his head was about to explode.


I feel better now, I guess you must've had a "temporary lapse of non-reason"..hehe.

I wonder what young Mr. Flounder will say about this Patsies lost.

As much as I hate to say this but Joe Flacco was brilliant yesterday, no more comparisons to C Henne, he was awesome, he earned my respect.

I'll be pulling for the Ravens (R Lewis,E Reed)..

OC: Reagan deficit-spending the Soviets 'into submission' is probably too stupid a thing for even a Fox pundit to say. You're obviously not ashamed of yourself. We don't have money for public works or infrastructure improvements because of tax cuts for GOP campaign donors. What a silly little twit you are.

Nope no more ragging on Flacco for me either oh well it was fun.

FZB, Are you watching Baracks inaururation??
Have you ever wondered how many stupid people there are in the U.S. ??

OC: perfesser I've got your fast speed rail right here!


Are they broadcasting it on Fox News?
The MSNBC is sickning,Rachal Maddow and Chris Matthews must be drunk, They've been drinking the Obama Kool-aid.


There are 700,000 of them (stupid people) in Washington today.


At least we don't have watch the endless SB pre-game shows (I think they started already) on how great Brady is or what a genius Beli-Cheat is or how dominant the Patriots are yada,yada,yada.

they'll be watching just like the rest of us..hehe


I don't know how you can stomach watching MSMNC even for a minute..

Hey Lancey,

Are you one of those blinded Obi supporters?..just asking.

FZB, I thought Id Tune into MANBC for Laughs..
Its Rather funny listening to the Dou of Maddow/Matthew, The only thing missing is Mr.Lefty Bill Mahr doig stand-up.

did you guys see Boston mayor Menino make a fool of himself..funny stuff.


I don't think he's ever gotten a Boston athlete's name right it's a running joke now.

Welkers wife just blasted Ray Lewis on Facebook.

She said 6 kids 4 wives criminal etc. he's no role model.

Lance, thanks for correcting me. After all, your twisted view of reality is something we all should all aspire to.

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