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franklin county times

Frazier brings strong fast-pitch background to MHS

By By Rocky Higginbotham/The Meridian Star
June 30, 2001
Meridian High School will launch a girls' fast-pitch softball program during the upcoming school year. And when MHS officials began a search for someone to head up that program, they looked for experience.
Susan Frazier, who most recently was the softball coach at North Pontotoc High School, has been hired to guide the Lady Wildcats' new program next Spring.
"One of the great things about Susan is that she's started a program before," Meridian High athletic director Billy Burnham said. "This isn't something totally new for her, and she's been successful at doing it in the past."
Has she ever. Frazier began the slow-pitch program at Quitman more than a decade ago and spent five years guiding the Lady Panthers. She then went to New Albany, and in 1998-99 launched a fast-pitch program there.
It was during that school year that Frazier's Lady Dawgs won both the Class 3A slow-pitch state championship during the Fall, as well what was then the Class II fast-pitch title in the Spring. Frazier spent seven seasons at New Albany before heading to North Pontotoc after the 1999-2000 school year.
Frazier said the challenge of starting a new program, as well as the chance to work in a great softball town lured her to the MHS position.
"Meridian has always had a strong pool of athletes and a big softball tradition," Frazier said. "The slow-pitch program has been successful, and there's just a good pool base of athletes."
Frazier knows about that talent pool first-hand. Her daughter, Ashlee, played with the likes of future prep stars Monique Horner and Ramey Rush in the Meridian summer leagues in the early 1990s.
Now, while mom coaches at Meridian High, Ashlee will suit up for Meridian Community College. A star pitcher at both New Albany and North Pontotoc, she'll play for the Lady Eagles after graduating last month.
Burnham said Susan Frazier's work with her daughter and other pitchers also made her attractive to a new program.
"One of the things with starting a fast-pitch program is the pitching," Burnham said. "And she's recognized as one of the best pitching coaches in the state."
Frazier will also take over the volleyball program at Meridian High, and MHS principal James Bounds said there's a lot of enthusiasm surrounding her arrival.
"We're excited about the opportunity to start a new sport, and we tried to find someone who would be able to start the program and never miss a beat," Bounds said.
Of course, the hiring of a coach with three state championships already under her belt didn't hurt, either.
"Exactly," Bounds said. "We're excited."
"The girls' athletic programs at Meridian High School during the 1990s have been as good as anybody in the state," Burnham said of the Lady Wildcat programs like basketball, soccer and slow-pitch softball that contend annually for state championships.
"This is just another chance for us to enhance our program and offer our girls something else."
Frazier who said Tuesday she and her family were "loading the truck today" expects to teach special education after arriving in Meridian.
Rocky Higginbotham is a sports writer for The Meridian Star. Call him at 693-1551 ext 3234 or e-mail him at rhigginbotham@themeridianstar.com.

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