NCCU says ‘no’ to former football coach’s appeal

jalexander@newsobserver.comSeptember 26, 2013 

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N.C. Central head football coach Henry Frazier III stands in the Eagles stadium on the NCCU campus in this file photo.

HARRY LYNCH — hlynch@newsobserver.com Buy Photo

— Chancellor Debra Saunders-White has denied an appeal by fired N.C. Central football coach Henry Frazier III, nearly a month after a lawyer hand-delivered a letter asking for his job back.

Saunders-White, who is in her first year as chancellor, refused to reconsider the decision, Frazier's lawyer, Linda Kenney Baden, said.

The university fired Frazier in August, a week after he was charged with violating a domestic violence protective order taken out by his ex wife.

“The situation involving Henry Frazier has been and is a personnel matter,” NCCU spokeswoman Ayana Hernandez said Thursday. “The university stands by its decision.”

It was Frazier’s second arrest in 18 months. He was arrested in May 2012 on a charge of assault, for which he received a prayer for judgment, according to court records. He was suspended from coaching after that incident but was reinstated when the university said his legal issues had been resolved.

In appealing his firing, Baden said NCCU violated a part of Frazier’s five-year $225,500 contract that guarantees him due process before termination. Frazier is due in court Monday on the August charge.

“Needless to say, we are unhappy with the fact that a higher education entity, whose history is based on due process, justice and fairness, refused to pay heed to this basic fact and recognize that honoring a human right bestows dignity on a school and, not ridicule,” Baden said.

In her letter rejecting the appeal, Saunders-White mentions a letter from then-chancellor Charlie Nelms to Frazier that said “any further incidents will be cause for more severe disciplinary action, up to and including dismissal.”

Frazier was in the third year of his contract and was hired under Nelms, who abruptly retired at the end of the summer in 2012. According to NCCU, he is not entitled to any of the remaining $451,000 for the two years left on his contract.

“As a result of these events, the University is now tasked with the goal of restoring the reputation of the athletic program and the University to ensure continued success,” Saunders-White said in her letter to the coach. “Your current arrest, and blatant disregard for University directives are inconsistent with a position charged with modeling behaviors for students.”

Baden said Frazier will now concentrate on clearing his name through all legal venues.

“Any decision on what steps to take will be made with the interest of his minor children in mind, since the unilateral termination from NCCU deprived (his children) of the financial stability Coach thought he was giving (them) when NCCU recruited him to move from Texas with contractual promises of due process and fairness,” she said.

The NCCU football team is 2-2 under interim head coach Dwayne Foster. Foster had coached under Frazier for seven years at Bowie State and Prairie View Universities.

The Eagles were 6-5 last year under Frazier and 2-9 the year before that.

Alexander: 919-932-2008 twitter.com/@jonmalexander1

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