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Mom…Coach…Leader: An Interview with Jennifer Frazier, MISD Athletic Director and Region 3 Athletic Director of the Year

Article|
Shane Mauldin|
Wednesday, June 22, 2022
In just her second year as McKinney ISD Athletic Director, Jennifer Frazier has been named the Region 3 Athletic Director of the Year by the Texas High School Athletic Directors Association (THSADA).

In just her second year as McKinney ISD Athletic Director, Jennifer Frazier has been named the Region 3 Athletic Director of the Year by the Texas High School Athletic Directors Association (THSADA).

McKinney, Texas – Just two years into the job as McKinney ISD Athletic Director, Jennifer Frazier has received high marks from the Texas High School Athletic Directors Association (THSADA). At the THSADA state conference held June 12–15, in Round Rock, she was officially announced as the Region 3 Athletic Director of the Year.

“It’s incredibly humbling,” she said of the award, “because it’s voted on by your peers, and I have a great deal of respect for all of my peers in this region. And, many people believe that we have one of the strongest regions in the state of Texas, so being chosen is just humbling. And, I am very grateful for it.”

Frazier, who formerly served as Associate Athletic Director under Shawn Pratt, moved into the role of Athletic Director in 2020 when Pratt became MISD’s Assistant Superintendent of Student Activities, Health and Safety. For Pratt, Frazier’s recognition from THSADA is well-deserved.

“Jennifer Frazier has proven to be an outstanding representative for McKinney ISD as the Athletic Director, and we are so proud to see her peers recognize her dedication and skill as an athletic administrator. The region in which she has been recognized is the most competitive in the state of Texas, including the Dallas/Ft Worth metroplex and surrounding areas. She is an outstanding role model and helps our coaches everyday be better for our student athletes.”

We sat down with Frazier as she talked about balancing her role in athletics with being a mom, what she holds most important and what she loves about her job.

Can you tell us about your background in athletics?
I grew up in Plano and played three sports at Plano East. In college, I played basketball at Abilene Christian University, and I stayed on as an assistant basketball coach and assistant softball coach while my husband finished his MBA. Then, I was hired as the girls head basketball coach at Richardson ISD. I did that for a couple of years, and then I stayed home for several years to raise my three boys.

While I was at home, I continued to do some high level competitive coaching and stayed very involved. I started working in the corporate world, and I worked in some different sports venues. I went into the ministry side of it and started a competitive athletic program. I did that for a couple of years. I knew Shawn [Pratt], and every year in the spring my phone would start to ring with several people who knew that I had coaching experience.

Shawn asked me if I would consider coaching again, and I told him that high school just wasn’t going to work anymore while I was raising my boys—so I coached middle school. I did that for a couple of years at Cockrill, and then moved into the athletic office as the assistant athletic director under Shawn and then eventually into the associate athletic director role. Two years ago, I moved into this position.

Most coaches start with middle school, then high school and move up. I coached college, high school, middle school and then back up. But, it’s been great. I think because I have experience at all levels, it really helps me have gratitude for what everybody does at every level and experience that I can draw from to remind myself, “Ok, our coaches are in the trenches, and this is the work they’re doing, so we need to do everything we can to try to help them.”

A Brief Side Note…
According to ACU, Frazier “was a two-time NCAA Division II Player of the Year and the university’s second-leading scorer with 2,463 points, scoring in double figures in her last 105 straight games. During the 1995-96 season, she led the Wildcats to a 31-2 record, a No. 1 national ranking and their only Elite Eight appearance. A two-time first team all-America, Frazier won the Honda Award as the College Female Athlete of the Year in 1996, and she was an academic all-America as a senior.” In addition, her accomplishments on the court earned Frazier a place in the Lone Star Conference Hall of Honor. Keeping with the family tradition, all three of Jennifer and husband Justin Frazier’s sons are collegiate athletes, all football players: Zach at Oklahoma Baptist University, Brandon at Auburn University and Dylan who will begin his career at SMU this fall.

Frazier onstage in a line with other award recipients

McKinney ISD Athletic Director Jennifer Frazier (third from left) stands onstage at the THSADA State Conference held June 12-15, in Round Rock, where she was presented with the award for Region 3 Athletic Director of the Year.

Serving as the athletic director is a challenging job, but what do you love about it?
We’re blessed to be here in McKinney ISD with the support that we have. It’s exciting. I wake up, and I love my job—absolutely love it. Hands down, this job is about the relationships and working alongside and encouraging our coaches to make sure that we’re fostering the right environment for our kids to be successful—because kids need extra-curricular activities. So many times, it’s their sports, their athletic teams that become the driving force bringing them to school.

You’ve probably seen some kids who have had life-changing experiences in athletics.
Absolutely. There have been some kids that have gone through some really hard things in life, and our coaches have stood in the gap for them and have helped pull them through that.

And, now you look at those kids, and they are in their first year of college or second year of college, and you realize, “Wow, they’re turning into incredible young adults.” And, it doesn’t mean that they weren’t great kids, but now they’re actually becoming adults. Our coaches see the tremendous value in pouring into our kids, absolutely 100 percent. The saying goes that coaches will impact more kids in one year than most people do in a lifetime. And, it’s true. It really is true.

What is your core philosophy and vision for MISD athletes?
I believe more than ever, that if we cannot connect with kids then we won’t have the ability to coach them. If you can’t build relationships with people, then you’re not going to have an opportunity to influence them. So, first and foremost we find coaches that are strong in building relationships who can connect with kids.

Once we have that connection, we want to help our students excel on the athletic field. But, more importantly, we want to be that ally in their life that they can come to and have a positive relationship—and then one day look back on their coach as somebody that they really treasured in their life.

I think most people equate a positive athletic experience with playing time. That’s just what happens, but I really believe that if we’re being intentional with building relationships and making sure that all of our kids are having a great athletic experience—looking forward to coming to practice everyday, doing those kind of things. I think it’s going to help them become stronger individuals. I think it builds confidence and strong relationship skills—the things that kids really need nowadays to be successful in life—flexibility, resilience, grit.

Do you ever miss coaching?
I get that question a lot, and I think for me, I was definitely wired to be a coach. And, honestly if I had not ever had children, I would have pursued college coaching. I think you always miss it because when you are with those kids every day as a coach, you really develop very close relationships with them. But, I also believe that I’m in a position now where I get to influence and encourage even more people.

Now, I get to encourage almost 250 coaches.

So, really, you’re still a coach…
Absolutely, I’m just coaching up adults.

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