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Daughters of Ron Fraser share poem he wanted them to see once he was gone

This is the longer version of my story that will appear in Tuesday's editions of The Miami Herald

At one point before Alzheimer's disease began taking its toll, Ron Fraser saw a poem he liked, copied it down and put it in his briefcase -- a message he hoped would be delivered at the right time.

Ron FraserMonday morning, as the late father of University of Miami baseball was being remembered and honored with eulogies and choir songs, his three daughters shared the poem with a congregation of hundreds who gathered for Fraser's funeral mass at St. Mark the Evangelist Catholic Church in Southwest Ranches.

The title of the poem Fraser had intended for his daughters to see once he was gone: "I'm Free."

"[Fraser's wife of 24 years] Karen found it. It talked about being free and don't grieve for me and that while they're are things I've left undone, God wants me and I'm with him now," Fraser's youngest daughter, Elizabeth Fraser Kraut, said fighting back emotion.

"It was left for us from Popie to help us deal with the grief of losing him. We hoped it would help the congregation get through their grief -- because we are all family. I can't even express to you in words how wonderful the outpouring of support has been."

Fraser, who passed away a week ago Sunday at age 79, will continue to be honored in the coming weeks.

The University of Miami has planned "A Celebration of the Life of Ron Fraser" for Saturday, Feb. 23 on campus with another event scheduled later that night during the baseball game against Milwaukee. The Ron Fraser Wizard Fund plans on honoring the Hall of Fame coach with a bronze statue at Alex Rodriguez Park at Mark Light Field. Current UM baseball coach Jim Morris said the program is committed to dedicating the season to Fraser in other ways not yet announced. Kraut said a private burial service will then take place in her father's hometown of Nutley, N.J. in March or April.

Monday's two-hour long mass -- as well as Sunday's eight-hour visitation at Stanfill Funeral Homes in Miami -- provided an opportunity for those closest to him to share stories and remember not just the man who was dubbed "The Wizard of College Baseball" but who served as a father figure for many young men, said Kraut and close friends.

UM Sports Hall of Famer Mike Fiore, part of Fraser's second and last national title team in 1985, was the first of five men who delivered a eulogy Monday. The others: former Catholic priest Leo Armbrust, longtime friend and former UM baseball sports information director Rick Remmert, current coach Morris, and family spokesman and TV personality Tony Segreto. Fiore, now the vice president for the company of famed baseball agent Scott Boras, called Fraser a "life coordinator."

"The family asked me to speak about him as a coach and what he meant to players like myself," Fiore said of the morning service. "I told one story today about how one time when we were playing Florida State my freshman year, down one run, late in the game, I'm standing on third thinking 'Do I let the ball go through? Do I run home if it gets past the catcher?'

"He walks up to me and looks at the crowd of six, seven thousand and says 'How many hamburgers and hot dogs do you think we sold tonight?' It was his unique way of alleviating stress from me, his way of saying I trust you, trust the way you play, go ahead and react. That was the greatest thing about coach Fraser. He always made you feel comfortable."

Fraser, who amassed a 1,271-438-9 record at UM and coached the Olympic team after retiring following the 1992 season, began coaching at UM for a $2,200 salary. He took a cow pasture for a field and raised the money for a ballpark with fundraising and marketing genius -- and not much financial help from UM.

Remmert, now UM's Director of Alumni programs, recalled how when Fraser first became coach of the Hurricanes he took a second job as athletic director of the Coral Gables youth center and borrowed equipment from there because UM didn't have any. The team's first uniforms, Remmert said, Fraser got those through his U.S. Military Academy connection.

"They took the A, R and Y off [the uniforms] and left the M on," Remmert said. "That's where the famous M came from.

"One of the first promotions he had after getting lights and fences for the baseball field and charging $1 for tickets was the 'Baseball from Outer Space.' The plan was to have a parachute jumper come in with a neon colored ball. The jumper got caught up in the wind and ended up landing in the old serpentarium instead. Coach also brought the first mascot to college baseball with the Miami Maniac.

"He saw the modern game of college baseball and what it could look like. [Former LSU coach] Skip Bertman said Ron was 30 years ahead of his time and proved to athletic directors baseball could be a revenue sport."

Kraut said she heard stories about her father on Sunday and Monday she hadn't heard before and that it has comforted the family.

"The phone calls, the tweets, text messages, the Facebook postings," Kraut said. "it's amazing how much people loved Popie and how much they've taken us under their wings."

Comments

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Good read many. Ron Fraser RIP

Great article Manny.

just goes to show how far this garbage university has fallen.

Jim Gallo is an embarrassment as a human. Enough said. Manny please let Jim read this, then you're free to remove it.

RIP Ron Fraser

great story

It was a beautiful day to honor and celebrate the life of Ron...Husband, father, grandfather and to the rest of us, Coach and The Wizard.

Nuthin' beat watchin the Hurricanes sweep Texas, Stanford, Wichita State, the Gators and the 'Noles back in the day. A Weekend series at the "Light" was the best part of springtime back then.

The Godfather of Canes Baseball .

Rest well Ron Fraser and best wishes to his family and friends .

Coach Ron Fraser. A great coach and an even greater man. My condolences to his friends and family. RIP, skip.

Embarassment as a university?

Top 40 in the us

Above uf last 2 yrs

Trillion dollar donations

So in football we are down.

It took alabama 16 yrs to win another ship

It took lsu 50
Ohio state 50
Fsu still hasnt won one since 99

Garbage?

UM 9
UF+ FSU+USF+UCF+FIU+FAU= 7

Never forget that gallo, you of the faulty DNA. So sorry you arw impaired

just goes to show how far this garbage university has fallen.

tampacane is an embarrassment as a human. Enough said. Manny please let Jim read this, then you're free to remove it.


Rip coach!

canetrash is 5>3>2 daddy and cousin and girlfriend


5>3>2 PREFERS DONOVAN'S SACK OVER TEABAG'S ON MONDAY

A PATHETIC LITTLE TURD TROLL

CAN'T STAND THAT THE UM BB TEAM IS RANKED #14

SCARED THAT THE U MIGHT PASS UP HIS LIL TURDS IN THE POLLS


Bleacher report 1/28/2012

It’s too early to tell whether Al Golden will last in Miami. However, these past two seasons have been lackluster, and the ‘Canes may decide to switch coaches yet again. Finding the perfect coach is never easy. Alabama was able to lure Nick Saban away from the pros. Texas A&M found Kevin Sumlin, a coach who took Houston to the verge of a BCS bowl game. If Miami eventually decides to part ways with Golden, it should try to find a coach with a record of consistency and sustainable, long-term success.

I'm not the only one now....finally the light is going on with some reporters....However in article the bad boy image says hurts UM...I say keep it which forces UM to stay in dade/broward...who cares about the rest of the country for recruits?


Miami won't fire Golden, he's doing a great job. Golden might be here for a long time.

You can't trust Bleacher Report for anything. The articles can be written by anyone.

I know for a fact the loser troll gallo has hijacked 5>3>2's name. Those posts are not 5>3>2's-- man told me thatthe only post on this stream that belong to him is 10:33pm. see above. the rest are canetrash and gallo. Loser.championships and tampacane you all know better than that! come on man!

It is simply amazing how the "U" has won so many National Titles without the funds other Florida schools receive. They should be ashamed that a little tiny school with no funds has more National Titles than they do. And just wait until the "U" gets past this NCAA nonsense. Oh lord, here we come.

You here everyone talk about facilities as if weight rooms were invented in 2003. This program has always made the most of the talent in Florida.

So Sad that this comment section turned into the typical BS.
I'll never forget the day when me and my fellow students saw UT vs UM on the field with 500 other folks because Ron Frazier had worked so hard to get the stands filled. I think there was some guy clemenns pitching for UT.

Grow up people, and have some respect.

Hey Gallo, you ever go to the U, did you graduate. Don't come here and equate sports to how well my school is doing. It's stupid as you sound. Sports are games and have nothing really to do with a school's greatness moron. Check out the Ivy league schools and places like Rice and Emory. I'm sick of you jock sniffers that come here and judge my school by now the sports teams are doing, get lost, go watch the NFL and MLB etc. The U is an educational institution not a sports team. Oh and here is a shock, If Coach Ron was standing here with me he would have my back 100%.

what are you talking about....

final four 2012:

kansas
michigan
UM
florida

wouldnt that be something

you have a 2 deep roster right there of very good athletes....golden is quick to rid good players but has no trouble keeping his roomate no matter how bad the brand gets tarnished....#117 out of #120....and the f...ker is still here....the article was being generous..

Posted by: Jim Gallo | January 29, 2013 at 07:40 AM
/////////////////////////

Here in lies the problem, goldie trying to keep battling with the good goons on the team. I like how gionni paul just said pluck it, i'm out, than we'll here goldie whining on the radio about "the rules we're asking them to follow are not that hard" again, like the back-handed comments he gave about curtis porter and seantrel with that "self inflicted" non-sense. Was not necessary, alot of college football players get in trouble, goldie is the only one i keep seeing trying to justify his actions of how he goes about punishing players.

Guys speak up(tracy howard) ok, sit yo class down and watch the next few games. They tried to move luther robinson to the o-line, that man said pluck no, than against boston college luther got up field and forced a fumble, oach OH-NO jethro and goldie got mad because that's not the technique they want to see(accusing him of giving up "gap integrity"), so they benched that man the next few games, thanof course after that, we hear goldie in press conferences saying things like, "we gotta get a better pass rush and depth on the d-line" in the meantime luther getting benched for b.s., of course his pops is suppose to call in since goldie and crew was ignoring that man.

tracy howard is loyal to his boys so he wasn't rolling out, now ej44, rashawn scott, gabe terry and the likes are being targeted by the mediocre goldie regime crew. Like i said before, goldie, like all others before him, is an outsider until he becomes part of a national championship team. You don't just get UM credibility by having cach speak, and bringing in some big binder, talking bout "Deserve Victory". In fact, how in the pluck you gone have the slogan "Deserve Victory" and you got your boy holding a tight-grip on the #117th spot. With that, "Deserve Victory" my aszzsszz!

gallo, i think your alumni from Miami High(doug edwards brothers, hank went on to play saftey for the vikings and crew, that was back when in Miami, several teams had some tall front lines, that frontline was something like 6'9, 6'11/7ft & 6'9)james coley is going to get our offense to looking like a Miami offense is suppose to look, i liked alot of what i saw from jedd, but alot of times, he got to finess and out-thought himself. What i didn't like hearing is jedd saying he wasn't going to use to full-backs position to much which was a waste.

When you use the fullback in any offense, it forces you to be a more physical team period, especially your linebackers, almost every time maurice haggens was in their, mike james scored, mike james will do work in the pro's. Also, it would be good if we rotate the runningbacks a little different than we did this year. Let 1 guy get in a groove, if terry(i kind of hope so if that's the trade off) goes to jacksonville, you already know who kehoe & mario will let goldie know to bring back, soooooolllll----dinger. Than we'll be almost back to where we need to be. Any runningback that wants to be a top notch back in college and the pro's, being coached under soldinger, you'll get it done.

I said last week sometime, coley knows better of what a Miami offense is suppose to look like since he grew up right by the O.B. I'm looking for him to use the tight-ends better along with the fullback and than on 3rd downs, especially 3rd and shorts, i hated seeing us abandon the threat of the run. jedd was the best oc we've had in years that's for sure, so i wasn't going to knock em. The main question remains though, who's the better qb coach, jedd or coley, we all know jedd can definitely coach qb's.

This is why those imbeciles who want to keep trying to blame jacory for alot of those picks have no clue of what they're talking about. And it wasn't just j70, smo17 and nipple jr. all had high picks. In comes jedd, all of a sudden jacory starts looking like he's bac at the West!

There goes Gallo or calvina wanting to impersonate someone intelligent like myself by using my screen name to help validate their pathetic lives and outlooks. Look guys everybody knows that your views are tainted and scewed to meet your agenda for trying to stop the momentum that Canes and coach Golden are building, so it is reall y counterproductive on your part because even if you do use my screen name everybody knows it isn't me. So keep popping your zits and beating off to magazines with Tebow's pic because that is as close to knowing something about football as U two little bi y t ches will ever get. So long sucka's.

I didnt write that (408 pm)

Bleacher report 1/28/2012

It’s too early to tell whether Will Muschamp will last in Gainesville. However, these past two seasons have demonstrated the man is not well mentally and the Louisville historical thrashing speaks to his lack of ability as a coach, thus the ‘Gators may decide to switch coaches yet again. Finding the perfect coach is never easy. Alabama was able to lure Nick Saban away from the pros. Texas A&M found Kevin Sumlin, a coach who took Houston to the verge of a BCS bowl game. Of course those schools have a winning history and are respected. When Florida eventually decides to part ways with Muschamp, and they will, they should try to find a coach who is sane (unlike Meyer and Muschamp) with a record of consistency and sustainable, long-term success.

I'm not the only one now....finally the light is going on with some reporters that Muschamp is a third rate head coach....however, in fairness to Muschamp the violent criminal image hurts Florida...yet, I say keep that image which forces UF to recruit players with long rap sheets...who cares about the rest of the country for recruits?

5.3.2, don't sweat it man everybody knows when the originals speak and when the douche bags like calvina and gallober are wishing they were intelligent and articulate like yourself and me.

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