Leesville Road head coach Russ Frazier is in his fourth year at Leesville. He grew up in Roanoke Rapids, North Carolina as the son of legendary coach Terry Frazier, who won hundreds of games before retiring back home in Roanoke Rapids in 2012.
Russ Frazier, taking after the career of his father, decided to enter the coaching realm and landed at Northwood High School, a 3A high school in Pittsboro, North Carolina. Almost immediately, the winning results came for Frazier, and before coming to Leesville Road, he was able to capture multiple conference titles and was state runner up in both 2009 and 2011.
However in 2012, an opportunity presented itself. Leesville Road head coach Roderic Brewington resigned, and Frazier had an opportunity to move to a developing program in a well-respected 4A conference. Sure enough, Frazier took the job, and his Leesville Road tenure began.
Remarkably, in his first season as head coach of the Pride, Frazier won the same number of conference games that the Pride had won all three previous years combined and posted a 10-4 record. It wasn’t a surprise to Frazier that he was winning games, but the community aspect was something he greatly underestimated.
“I saved up my nickels and my dimes and my pennies to move here, and I love it here. Unlike most people when they go to the grocery store who don’t want to see kids from school or work, I light up when I see people. I light up when the fans come in (into games),” said Frazier.
And speaking of fans: There’s no greater part of the Leesville Basketball experience than the fans. Not only are there more fans in 4A than in 3A, but it’s the nature of the fans that still amaze Frazier.
“The Loonies are just as much a part of it as we are,” said Frazier. “To me, it’s the most special place I’ve been. I think it’ll continue to grow, and I think we can take it a lot farther than it already is.”
Over his four years at Leesville, Frazier has seen the crowds continue to grow with each new game. Not only is the fan turnout consistent, but Frazier has instilled some traditions into game days as well. Each game has a theme, and Frazier hand picks the themes according to what his students want. Twin night, Superhero night, America night, Tropical night, and others are fan favorites that seem to come back every year.
Additionally, Frazier uses social media to his advantage, tweeting out to students and making video clips announcing the theme and encouraging students to attend the games.
In an ultra-competitive league where every game is important, Frazier has managed to appeal to the Loonies as well, not just his players. There’s no doubt Frazier is here to stay.
“This is my home, and it means something to me,” said Frazier. “I want my child to be a Loonie; it’s why I came here.”