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Home News-Telegram Sports Then and now – a touching tribute, Cumby honors former coaches Frazier, Lawrence by re-naming Trojan stadium

Then and now – a touching tribute, Cumby honors former coaches Frazier, Lawrence by re-naming Trojan stadium

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CUMBY — It was 1976; when, two coaches–Rick Frazier, 21, and Chuck Lawrence, 22–came together to coach at Cumby and left a legacy that spanned four years. alt

On Saturday, Sept. 5, 2009, Cumby will rename Trojan Stadium by christening it Frazier-Lawrence Stadium prior to their first home football game against Union Hill rescheduled just for this tribute event at 2 p.m. The two had first met in while attending Tyler Junior College in the early 1970s. Lawrence met his wife, Jenny, a free safety on the intramural team that Frazier and Lawrence coached together.

“If it weren't for Rick, I may not have ever met the love of my life,” Lawrence said. Lawrence eventually parted ways attending Texas A&M as a walk-on squad man for the baseball team. Frazier went on to graduate from East Texas State, where he ran on the mile relay at the NCAA Division II track meet. But he was quick to set aside his track hopes to fulfill a lifelong dream.

“I've always wanted to be a head football coach and this gave me the opportunity to do what I've trained to be…eventually, we'll win here at Cumby, but it's not done with talk, but with hard work,” were the words of Rick Frazier.alt

It was just the second year that Cumby, then a Class B school, had been participating in 11-man football. It would take hard work and then some to pull this team up and out of the trenches. Before he'd even finished his degree, Chuck Lawrence got the call, scoring his first defensive coordinator football coaching assignment and head basketball coach to his friend, Frazier, the new athletic director and head football coach at Cumby.

“I spent my first actual year at Cumby as a substitute teacher,” Lawrence fondly remembered. “I wasn't able to get my emergency certificate so I substitute taught at Cumby until I graduated in May of '77.”

They started to bloom that spring, these two coaches, which composed the entire coaching staff, started to make head way when the Lady Trojans' mile relay went to state even without a track to practice. They knew the key was a strong track program.

From there Frazier and Lawrence made great strides in the building of the Cumby athletic program making their mark, adding baseball and volleyball.

“One summer we hung the blue siding (that also remains today) on the side of the gym as a side job,” recalls Lawrence, noting how multiple small school coaches have to be.

In 1979, history was made by the Cumby Trojan football team. Ranked 138 out of 139 Class B teams, Cumby made headlines with the victory over the Lone Oak Buffaloes and claiming the District 9 Championship title. It remains the one and only district championship in Cumby school history.

“Those kids then were tough. They milked cows before going to school. They wanted to win they just needed to be shown how. They are a great group of kids. We both loved them,” Lawrence said.

The Trojans went on to face ironically, Union Hill, defending state champions. “The game was set to be played at 7:30 p.m. in Mount Vernon,” explained Lawrence. “The officials went to Vernon-it was 10 p.m. before we kicked off.” Cumby ended with a loss.

As seasoned coaches, Frazier and Lawrence moved on together, taking assistant coaching positions at Jacksonville. The pair parted ways as Frazier went on to assist at Cisco Junior College, and Lawrence went to the helm for the first time at Frankston High School.

Their story continued in December of 1984. “Rick had been visiting while scouting in the area. He called Cisco to check in only to discover his own promotion to athletic director. As he put the phone down, he looked at me and said, 'you're the new defensive coordinator at Cisco Junior College.' That's when I got the junior college bug and have been there ever since,” said Lawrence, currently Lee College athletic director.

Years passed, Frazier continued his success coaching his son in two district championships at Cisco High School. Yearning to coach professional football, Frazier relocated to Wisconsin coaching several teams in arena football.

It was in 2007 that Frazier lost his battle with a staph infection. “After a childhood incident, Rick was terrified of doctors and dentists. His death was a terrible shame,” said Lawrence.

“At coach Frazier's graveside-which is ironically, right next to the Cisco Junior College football field-coach Lawrence tearfully said to the Cumby folks in attendance, 'y'all need to name the football field after coach Frazier',” remembers former student and board member Lou Ann Petty.

Now, after a year of preparation, the plans presented to the board in October under one condition. To an audience of former students, the board, and coach Lawrence, Petty made an announcement. “In Cumby, you didn't say the name Rick Frazier without saying Chuck Lawrence. You're going to name this after both of them or none of them.”

The board voted unanimously in favor of the rename. “It is a great deal,” said Edward Perez, current Cumby athletic director, “I am excited to be a part of it.”

“Rick was so positively energetic. He refused to lose,” Lawrence said. “He deserves it. It is a great honor. It is humbling. I'm sure he is smiling down on us.”

 

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