Leslie Frazier, the founding football coach for Trinity International University, was just named interim head coach of the Minnesota Vikings after the team ditched coach Brad Childress midway through the season. Frazier was the team’s defensive coordinator.
Frazier’s first season for Trinity was in 1989. TIU’s athletic reporters write:
Frazier led the Trojans to two conference championships during his tenure at TIU. He was also named the NAIA District 20 Independent Coach of the Year in 1990 and the Mid-States Football Association Western Division Coach of the Year in 1994.
Frazier went on to coach at the University of Illinois and has held various coaching roles in the NFL with the Eagles, Bengals, and the Indianapolis Colts during their Super Bowl Championship year. Frazier has been with the Vikings organization since 2007 as the Assistant Head Coach/Defensive Coordinator.
Earlier this month, Frazier talked to the Chicago Tribune about his prospects as a head coach and the launch of his coaching career at Trinity.
An opportunity opened up for Frazier under the most unlikely circumstances. A fluke knee injury returning a punt after a handoff in Super Bowl XX ended his playing career prematurely and he became the first coach at what is now Trinity International University in Deerfield. He spent nine seasons there before becoming Ron Turner’s defensive backs coach at Illinois.
“I remember the president of Trinity, Ken Meyer, wrote me a letter when I was in (Bears) training camp – and I don’t know if he had premonition or what because I was still trying to decide if I was going to play football again,” Frazier recalled. “It took me about four months before I actually went over and talked to him about the position.
“(Meyer) kept pursuing me and telling me I was great fit to start their program. I said to myself, at 27 years old, that the opportunity to be a head coach at a predominately white school in an environment that I felt comfortable in, I thought it was a very unique situation. Taking that job, boy, it was the best thing I ever did.”