With a job at the University of North Texas open, and a coach in waiting behind Henry Frazier, it’s perhaps no surprise that one rumor has the architect of Prairie View A&M’s resurgence as a possible candidate.
North Texas fired Todd Dodge, formerly coach at one of the Lone Star State’s most successful prep programs in Southlake Carroll, after he went 6-37 in three-and-a-half seasons. Coming off a bye week, UNT will take the field again Saturday at Western Kentucky, with offensive coordinator Mike Canales as interim coach.
But don’t count on Frazier leaving for Denton. The Mean Green’s short list for a permanent replacement, according to The Denton Record-Chronicle, includes former Southern Miss coach Jeff Bower; former Tulsa and Louisville coach Steve Kragthorpe, a former UNT offensive coordinator; former Alabama and Texas A&M coach Dennis Franchione, Oklahoma offensive coordinator Kevin Wilson; ex-NFL assistant Jay Norvell, another Oklahoma assistant.
The prevailing wisdom is that North Texas is looking to make a Splash Hire, since the school is scheduled to open a new $78 million stadium next season that will seat approximately 30,000. Former Texas Tech coach Mike Leach is also apparently in the mix, but I find no mention of Frazier anywhere else.
Not that he’s not crafting a worthy resume, lifting the woebegone Texas-based Southwestern Athletic Conference football program out of the ashes all the way to a league championship.
[New ‘coach-in-waiting’ tag is a well-deserved move up for Prairie View assistant Heishma Northern.]
Under Frazier in 2007, Prairie View A&M — a program that once suffered through an 80-game losing streak — posted its first winning season since 1976. He was selected as coach of the year by the College Sporting News. Prior to Frazier’s arrival in 2004, Prairie View had posted two consecutive one-win seasons in 2002-03.
Then in 2008, Frazier led the 9-1 Panthers to their best record since 1964 under Billy Nicks, on the way to being named coach of the year by the Sheridan Broadcast Network. American Football Coaches Region III FCS Coach of the Year honors followed.
In 2009, Prairie View and their SWAC coach of the year claimed a long-awaited conference title, capping a sterling period of dominance in which the Panthers had just one league loss over a period of two years. The Panthers had last earned the conference crown in 1964.
Last week, Frazier’s Panthers continued their history-making ways when they defeated SWAC West power Southern for the third consecutive year — something that also hasn’t happened since 1962-64.
Inevitably, other schools have come calling. Prairie View even put together a succession plan, where top assistant Heishma Northern will take over should Frazier depart any time soon.
Frazier has reportedly already turned down at least one head coaching position, at Howard.