Tommie Frazier, Jr. is a Husker football legend. Ask anyone in a red jersey on game day and they will undoubtedly tell you stories and statistics boasting about a young man who ledNebraskato back-to-back national championships. You may also hear how Tommie was selected as back-up quarterback for the 1999 Sports Illustrated NCAA Football All-Century Team as well as his 2004 ranking in the CollegeFootballNews.com’s list of the Top 100 Greatest College Football Players of All-Time. Tommie, for certain, was all of these things and more. But these days he is busy working for causes that he deeply believes in, and most importantly, he is busy being a husband and father.
Tommie grew up inFlorida with his parents, three older brothers, an older sister and a younger brother. He grew up watching his brothers play all kind of sports and soon followed in their footsteps. “My brothers forced me to get into sports,” he smiles. “There was no way I couldn’t play sports after watching all of them play. They always took me outside to play baseball and football with them. They made me their tackle dummy,” he laughs. Tommie said that he began playing tackle football when he was six years old. “I was the kid with his pants falling down to my ankles and my football helmet was too big. It was fun to play with my buddies.”
But football in the Frazier household was not the most important subject. Education was. “My parents helped me become disciplined,” Tommie says. “It was: do your school work or no sports. The focus in our home was education. My parents said that I had to have a certain GPA or I couldn’t play. That made me more disciplined on and off the field.”
Tommie says that what his parents instilled in him early on about his education was very important in rounding out his life. “Young kids today are not thinking about the future, they are living for today,” he says. “It’s going to end and what will you have to fall back on? There are not too many people out there making millions of dollars off of sports.”
Tommie is now a parent himself. He and his wife of eleven years, Andrea, are busy raising Tommie James, III (Trey) who is eight years old and Ava, who is four. “They are the perfect age,” he says. “They are typical, they bicker and battle.”
And up until just recently, Tommie’s children had no idea just how famous their father was. “My son is just starting to figure it out,” he says. “He would go on school field trips to the stadium and kids would say…isn’t that your dad? He couldn’t understand what the big deal was. I just want to be his dad, but he’s starting to catch on.”
Tommie says that he is often asked if he will make and or let his son play football. Tommie tells them that if his son does not want to play football, he does not have to. “I prefer not. I know that people will put a lot of pressure on him. I want him to find his own identity. But if he wants to play football I will help him be the best he can be.”
“Trey plays flag football; he started that because of his buddies. He wants to play golf, tennis and other sports. Ava is into gymnastics, dancing and swimming.” Tommie says that he wants both of his children to be well rounded and try different activities without being overwhelmed by doing too much. “I’m not going to force them to do back-to-back sports. I’ll let them be kids.”
And just like his parents, Tommie believes that education comes first. “I was the first in my family to graduate from college. I will make sure that my kids do well in school. Without an education you won’t get very far.” Tommie says that both of his parents talk regularly to their grandchildren about their grades and importance of an education.
In addition to being Andrea’s husband and Trey and Ava’s dad, Tommie is hard at work for theImmanuelMedicalCenteras the Development Officer, a job that he loves and believes in. “I raise money and build relationships. Its fun and it’s always good when are trying to help build something.”
“This hospital has history; it’s been around for a long time,” he says. Tommie is currently working on raising a substantial amount of money in order for theImmanuelMedicalCenterto remodel theirIn-patientRehabilitationCenter. “It’s a little outdated. We need to make it bigger and better to treat and service more people. It’s the best rehab facility in the region.”
Tommie also serves on the board for Make-A-Wish. “When I was in college I was a wish. I kid wanted to hang out with me. So when they called me and asked me to be on the board, I said yes.” Tommie also helps out his former teammate, Steve Warren, with his charity: DREAM (Developing Relationships through Education and Mentoring). DREAM’s mission is to offer and expand on opportunities forOmahayouth by providing positive role models, experiences and assistance. “I like working with kids, so I am happy to help. I was one of the fortunate people with two parents while growing up.”
Tommie and many of his former teammates are still very close. “My experience in college was great. I played for a great coach; I played for a great team. I still see my old teammates, some I talk to daily. We still have a brotherhood even sixteen years later. Even though you will not always play sports, sports will give you friendships that will stay with you.”
Tommie does not seem to miss the limelight and fame of football. He is happy and content taking out the trash and helping with the laundry. “That’s how I live my life. Other people made me a celebrity, I just played football. I just want to be a husband and a father.”
Tommie James Frazier, Jr. has had amazing success on the football field that is true. But it would seem that his best days are happening right now, and the Omaha Community is on the receiving end.
Tommie says both Make-A-Wish and DREAM are always on the lookout for donations and volunteers. For more information on either, you can go to www.Nebraska.wish.org and www.joindream.org. For those interested in helping partner with Immanuel Medical Center and their renovation you can contact Tommie at Tommie.firstname.lastname@example.org.