The former Alcorn State All-American cornerback is no longer the NFL’s most interviewed coaching candidate of the last decade now that he is interim coach of the Minnesota Vikings.
He had interviewed seven times for NFL head coaching jobs and had been passed over seven times before Vikings owner Zygi Wilf turned to him a week ago to replace Brad Childress after the Vikings started the season 3-7.
Frazier, 51, had a successful debut Sunday, as the Vikings defeated the Washington Redskins 17-13 for their first road victory of the season.
“It was a great win for our team and for the organization,” he said. “Hopefully there will be many more wins in the future. It has been a tough week for our players, our organization our fans.”
Frazier is the second HBCU alumnus to be head coach in the NFL. Art Shell, who played at Maryland-Eastern Shore and had two stints as coach of the Oakland Raiders, was the first.
Frazier’s hiring ends more than two decades ago of preparation. He went into coaching in 1988 after his six-year career as a cornerback with the Chicago Bears, which included a victory in Super Bowl XX, was cut short by a knee injury. Trinity College in Deerfield, Illinois – now known as Trinity International University – hired him to build its football program from the ground up. In nine seasons, he led the NAIA program to pair of Northern Illinois Intercollegiate Conference championships.
In the ensuing years, Frazier was defensive backs coach for the University of Illinois and the Philadelphia Eagles, defensive coordinator for the Cincinnati Bengals and defensive backs coach and special assistant to head coach Tony Dungy with Indianapolis Colts, the Super Bowl XLI champions.
Frazier built an impressive resume with each stop that he made in his coaching career, and in the process became one of the NFL’s hottest head coaching prospects. Whenever a job came open, his name was always among those mentioned to fill it. He interviewed often – and well – but was never hired.