DeKALB – Northern Illinois University has always been on Sean Frazier’s radar.
It started when Frazier arrived in the Midwest after taking a job in Wisconsin’s athletic department back in 2007. Being just a few hours away, he always was familiar with NIU and watched the school from afar.
When Frazier was looking at the job, he thought it was a good fit. He just had one question, and that was answered when he interviewed with new NIU President Douglas Baker in Atlanta last week.
“I’ve been on this campus. I’m very familiar with both personnel, facilities, academics, athletics,” said Frazier, who was introduced to a big crowd at the Yordon Center on Tuesday. “The only question I had was the leadership piece. I’m overwhelmed by [Baker].”
Baker said the field of applicants was “excellent.” He had been told there would be a strong pool, and it didn’t disappoint. The man who emerged was Frazier, was was also a finalist for the Rutgers AD position that went to Julie Hermann in June.
When he began the search, Baker met with coaches, interviewed numerous others involved in athletics and even consulted with former NIU President John Peters about what everyone was looking for in a new AD.
NIU hired the Parker Executive Search firm to help with the process. Baker has worked with Parker before and called it one of the top firms in the country.
Baker shared the same view as the different Huskies he interviewed, and he ended up with Frazier, who has been at the University of Wisconsin since 2007, most recently serving as the school’s deputy director of athletics. Frazier has also been an athletic director at three different stops – Merrimack College, Clarkson and Manhattanville College.
“We wanted somebody that cared about the students’ success, cared about running a program that was compliant,” Baker said. “A person that could reach out and build relationships with our stakeholders, and one that can continue our winning ways. We wanted somebody that was just a good person, too, and could fit well with the culture and institution.”