Steele, Frazier make NU return but as opponents
By Jamie Suhr
October 20, 2000
Baylor Coach Kevin Steele and Baylor Running Backs Coach Tommie Frazier will find themselves in familiar, yet unfamiliar territory - at Memorial Stadium but on the visitors' sideline.
But for Steele, NU's linebackers coach from 1989-1994, and Frazier, former Husker and first team All-American quarterback, it won't be a walk down memory lane.
"I think of it as a business trip," Frazier said. "I work for Baylor University, and we're coming to play Nebraska, so I have to approach it that way."
The rebuilding process at Baylor has been a little rough for Steele, who has a career record of 3-14. So forgive the coach if he doesn't get a little misty-eyed when stepping on Tom Osborne Field.
"It would probably make a wonderful story of how emotionally tied to the game or how very strange it is, but we're focused on the rebuilding process," Steele said.
But Steele's rebuilding nearly didn't include Frazier, who dabbled in different opportunities.
The former Nebraska star worked with Gov. Ben Nelson, was a broadcaster for Nebraska football games, played for the Montreal Alouettes of the Canadian Football League and was director of market development and public relations for Nebraska Technologies and Telecommunications in Omaha.
"When I left Canada playing the game of football, I didn't want to have anything to do with football," Frazier said. "I wanted to enjoy the other parts of my life."
When Steele left for the NFL's Carolina Panthers as a linebackers coach, he told Frazier if he became a coach somewhere, he'd want Frazier on his staff.
When Baylor approached him about its job opening, Steele, then-linebackers coach for the Carolina Panthers of the NFL, knew exactly who he'd ask to join his staff.
"It was an automatic (to hire Frazier)," Steele said. "He brings a credibility in terms of the game of football. His character and the fact that excellence is an everyday word in everything Tommie Frazier does."
But talking Frazier back into football was no easy task. Frazier said he was at ease living without football and was happy with his job at NT&T.;
Frazier said NU assistant coaches Ron Brown and Turner Gill told Frazier he should get back into football.
"They kind of put the bug in my ear, saying that I need to think about getting into coaching because I have so much to give," Frazier said.
"Three or four months later, Coach Steele got the job here, so I guess the timing was perfect."
It wasn't the first time Steele tried to recruit Frazier. When the former Husker signal caller was a senior in high school, Steele flew down to Florida to talk to him about an opportunity at Nebraska.
Instead of recruiting Frazier, Steele spent his time selling Nebraska to his mother, Priscilla.
"When I walked in the door after basketball practice, he'd look at me and say 'Hello, how are you doing,' and I'd say 'Fine,' and he'd say, 'Well I don't need to talk to you,' and he'd play cards with my mother," Frazier said.