Where Are They Now? Basketball's Charles Frasier
Wednesday, September 16, 2015
Where Are They Now? Basketball's Charles Frasier

Charles Frasier's athletic career at Lipscomb as a basketball player was brief, but his impact on the school has lasted for decades. In August he was honored when a chair, "The Charles E. Frasier Chair of Accounting", was announced in the College of Business. He spent some time between classes and meetings with students at the Swang Business Center this week to talk with Lipscombsports.com about the impact Lipscomb has had on his life.

What years did you play at Lipscomb? Who were your coaches?

"I played basketball for one season, 1963-64. Charles "Tiger" Morris was my coach.

"I came to Lipscomb in 1962 and graduated in 1966."

Why did you decide to come to Lipscomb as a student?

"I came to Lipscomb from Glasgow, Kentucky. I played basketball and baseball and ran a little track in high school. I loved basketball.

"My mother, Evelyn, was the religious leader of our home. My Dad, Howard, was a tobacco farmer and a tobacco warehouse person. He respected what religion meant to my mother. There were four of us boys and he told us growing up, `Guys, whatever your mother says about church attendance is what you are going to do'.

"My mother came to Lipscomb as a student when it was a two-year school. She really enjoyed it. And she always came to the summer lectureships. I enjoyed coming with her. I got used to being on the Lipscomb campus as a sixth or seventh grader.

"I had two older brothers and a younger brother. My parents had a rule that you would go to a Christian college for your first year and then you could go wherever you wanted to go.

"My oldest brother went to Abilene Christian. My next brother, Doug, went to Lipscomb. He just loved `Fessor' (Eugene) Boyce. He had Ira North as a Bible teacher and loved him. He liked Lipscomb. It really changed his life.

"I was going to major in chemistry when I came to Lipscomb. I enjoyed it. I had Dr. Paul Lankford as a teacher. He was a great teacher. I just didn't know what I wanted to do.

"I had a good friend in Elam Hall (when it was a men's dorm) named David Blankenship. He was from Alabama and didn't meet him until we both came to Lipscomb. He said he was going to major in accounting. And I thought that was enough for me. I am going to major in accounting too."

How did you become a member of the basketball team?

"We just had a so-so team when I played at Glasgow. We didn't excel. But basketball was a sport that I liked and I was reasonably good at it, but I don't know if I was college material.

"I played intramural basketball my freshman year at Lipscomb. I guess coach Morris must have seen some games. After school was out my freshman year coach Morris called me. He said, `Hey, Charles, I have an opportunity for you'. He told me he needed some help. He couldn't give me a scholarship but he needed players to have enough for a scrimmage.

"I told him I thought it would be a fun opportunity. It was a real compliment that someone recognized that you had enough ability to be on a college team. I didn't have any visions that I was going to do anything great. But I knew that if I didn't say yes I would bever be able to say I was part of a college team. I think we won five games that year."

What is your fondest athletic memory at Lipscomb?

"I just remember practice and enjoying being on the team and wearing the uniform. For me it was exciting just to go out on the court and warmup before games. I got into a couple of games late. McQuiddy Gym was crowded. There was a good bit of school spirit. It was just fun."

Who had the biggest influence on you during your athletic career at Lipscomb? How?

"I thought coach Morris treated everybody in a professional and kind way. He meant business on the court. I enjoyed him as a person.

"I never did see myself as an athlete. I just saw myself helping out that one year. I never played with the thought that maybe if I played real well I would be on the team the next three years. I did the best I could at practice.

"You really learn teamwork playing together with players you have never played with before. Especially when you are younger becoming a person who can adapt to new people and new situations is critical.

"Mike Hartness was a guard on the team. He was a prince of a guy. He was a good person and a good basketball player. I have a great respect for Mike.

"I was a forward. Doug Adcock was also a forward. I remember guarding him a lot in practice."

What is your fondest non-athletic memory from your time at Lipscomb?

"I think about classes and being influenced by the faculty like Batsell Barrett Baxter, Dr. Axel Swang and Dr. Hal Wilson.

"Willard Collins conducted chapel and that was always a great memory.

"When I was a freshman in 1962 they opened the Municipal Auditorium Lipcomb played Western Kentucky in the first basketball game in the auditorium. It was a great thrill to go downtown and watch us beat Western Kentucky.

"Ralph Isenberg was a guard on the Lipscomb basketball team from Cave City, Kentucky. I never will forget that when Ralph was introduced and they said he was from Cave City the Western fans gave him an ovation.

"Another memory also is about Municipal Auditorium. The first gospel meeting held there was sponsored by Lipscomb my freshman year. I think it was known as a the Collins-Craig Gospel meeting. They brought people in on buses and had about 10,000 people there (100,000 for the week). It was just good to be a part of Lipscomb."

What is the most valuable thing you gained or learned from your time at Lipscomb?

"I think it is like when you are around good people and you have great respect for them that at the end of the day you want to be like that as well. You see what kind of impact it is having on you and you want to have that kind of impact on other people.

"I just saw how I was treated by faculty and by students. The philosophy of the campus was to treat people right. When you get treated right it will make you a better person. It made me how I am."

Who was your favorite professor? Why?

"I had Dr. Hal Wilson as a teacher first and then I had Dr. (Axel) Swang later. They had very different teaching styles.

"I really loved Dr. Wilson's teaching style. He was very enthusiastic. He interacted well with students. He really cared about his students and cared about you learning.

"Dr. Swang was kind of crazy in the classroom. He would just do things. I don't remember him throwing erasers and chalk at students. He just had a lot of antics. He was trying to get your attention. He wanted you to remember the class and the subject matter. His tests were kind of hard, but I always thought he was fair. In the final analysis if you made good grades he would give you some help at the end if you needed it.

"He was very encouraging. He encouraged several of us to go to the University of Alabama to get a master’s. There were three of us who went to Alabama and got our graduate degrees. Dr. Swang went to Missouri and got his masters. He got his Ph.D. from Alabama."

When you graduated from the University of Alabama you went to work for a private accounting firm in Huntsville. What were the steps you followed to become a teacher at Lipscomb?

"I went to work in the accounting profession and I just had such fond memories of Lipscomb. I would occasionally write Dr. Swang a letter to let him know how I was doing or to tell him that I had gotten a promotion. I was proud to let him know that and I hoped he would be proud of me because he was the head of the department.

"There weren't that many accountants with graduate degrees at that time. It was before the Master of Accountancy. 

"Alabama-Huntsville was developing a business school and they had the need for someone to teach auditing. A friend of mine told their dean of the business school I might be available to teach one or two nights a week as an adjunct.

"I taught two or three semesters. The more I taught the more students would talk to me and ask me questions. I saw I was able to help people by doing additional instruction after class or just talking with them.

"It just fed part of me that wanted to reach out and help somebody. If I can help somebody be a better person, or help them get a better job, it doesn't get any better than that.

"I called Dr. Swang and told him if a position ever came open at Lipscomb I would like to teach there. I knew I didn't have a Ph.D. I guess a year went by and Dr. Swang called me.

"I was a pretty good student, but I wasn't one of Dr. Swang's star students.

"I started in the fall of 1971 not knowing how long it was going to last. I thought 'maybe I will be here for a year or two and they will say, `you need to go away and get that Ph.D or you need to do something else'.

"Dr. Wilson had a little accounting firm in Green Hills and he asked me to come over and help him. I am teaching with Dr. Swang and working with Dr. Wilson, one of my favorite all-time guys. I saw these people every day who influenced me. That was great.

"I would go to chapel and there would be Batsell Barrett Baxter and I would be on stage with him. I would go to the faculty lounge and I would be eating with Carroll Ellis and all of these other professors I had in school. All of a sudden I am sitting at the table with legends and they seemed to have respect for me. That was a great situation to be in."

Talk about your work with your own accounting firm?

"Hal left our practice in 1975 to go work at Middle Tennessee State. I got together with Barry Dean in 1978. He was the first full-time employee. We had a little business. He looked at it and took a big chance.

"I had Barry as a student. We got together and that really went well. We started growing a little every year. When I retired in 2010 we had 50 employees. The firm is Frasier, Dean and Howard. Now they have 85 employees."

Tell us about your family.

"I met my wife, Martha, here at Lipscomb. We got married when I was a senior. We have two children, Stephen and Julie. Stephen lives in Dickson. Both of them went to Lipscomb. Julie married Jeff Dale. He is a CPA. and joined the Federal Bureau of Investigation. We have two grandchildren, Sarah and Andrew. Sarah is a freshman at Lipscomb."

My email address is charles.frasier@lipscomb.edu