Frazier Named a Finalist for Sports Business Journal Honor3 min read
DeKALB, Ill. – Northern Illinois University Vice President/Director of Athletics and Recreation Sean T. Frazier has been named one of five finalists for Athletic Director of the Year by the Sports Business Journal. Frazier joins Sandy Barbour (Penn State), Lisa Campos (UTSA), Hunter Yurachek (Arkansas) and Tom Holmoe (BYU) as nominees for the prestigious award. The winner will be announced during the 15th Annual Sports Business Awards to be held at the New York Marriott Marquis Times Square on Wednesday, May 18, 2022.
In his ninth year at the helm of NIU Athletics, Sean T. Frazier has guided the Huskies to historic milestones competitively, academically and socially, cemented his status as both a national and community leader on diversity and inclusion and led successful fundraising efforts that have transformed the student-athlete experience at NIU. In addition to leading the Huskies’ 17-sport intercollegiate athletics program, Frazier and his team direct operations of the NIU Convocation Center, oversee the Huskie Marching Band and, in 2020, incorporated NIU Recreation under the athletics umbrella.
Over the past 14 months, four different NIU teams have won Mid-American Conference Championships, bringing the total number won by Huskie teams during Frazier’s tenure to 12, the most MAC titles won under the leadership of any athletic administration in school history. The last team added to that list of champions was the 2021 NIU Football team, which completed a historic journey by becoming the first team in FBS history to win a conference championship game after going winless the previous year. NIU Football under Frazier’s tenure has continued its level of championship success with the highest winning percentage among all MAC institutions as well the most wins by an FBS program in the State of Illinois. Frazier also saw the NIU men’s soccer team win its first MAC title since 2011 and advance to the second round of the NCAA Tournament, while four Huskie teams recorded second-place finishes in 2020-21.
NIU student-athletes have also enjoyed unprecedented success in the classroom under Frazier’s guidance as the Huskies finished the 2020-21 academic year with a school record cumulative GPA of 3.35 as 15 teams posted a team GPA above 3.0, and NIU posted the second highest Graduation Success Rate in school history with an 88 percent mark.
Frazier has a significant history of service in NCAA committees, training, mentorship and shared governance. Frazier was asked to be a part of the United States Olympic & Paralympic Committee (USOPC) College Sports Sustainability Think Tank to develop concepts that emphasize partnerships across the collegiate space and Olympic and Paralympic movements, and recognize that increased alignment can result in operational efficiencies, untapped revenues and a unified vision of the sport pathway for athletes. This past year Frazier also co-chaired the LEAD1 Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Working Group with the goal to produce a white paper which would design an actionable plan for FBS institutions to help create more opportunities for people of color to advance in athletics administration, thereby increasing diverse senior leadership at the highest levels of intercollegiate athletics.
Perhaps the Huskies’ most significant achievement over the past year came in December 2021, when NIU Athletics became the first two-time recipient of the MOAA/NCAA Diversity and Inclusion Award, presented by the Minority Opportunities Athletic Association and the NCAA. Significantly, NIU Athletics was recognized for its actions in this area and the continuing commitment by Frazier and his staff to bring diversity, inclusion and belonging to the forefront of NIU’s culture. During this time, he also was recognized as a 2021 Leader in Diversity and Inclusive hiring by Sports Business Journal for providing greater opportunities and leadership positions for diverse and underrepresented candidates at the highest levels of intercollegiate athletics.
The SBJ Athletic Director of the Year Award winner will be selected by the staff of Sports Business Journal. A full list of the award nominees is available at SportsBusinessJournal.com.
— NIU —