By Chris Brown
It has been a long and illustrious career in football for one Leslie Frazier. After more than four and a half decades in the sport, the former cornerback turned coach was bestowed with perhaps his highest honor on Thursday. Frazier was named a 2023 inductee to the Black College Football Hall of Fame.
Last month, the Bills’ defensive coordinator was chosen as one of 25 finalists for induction from a pool of more than 200 nominees. Located at the Pro Football Hall of Fame in Canton, Ohio, the Black College Football Hall of Fame was founded in 2009.
Frazier spent his college years as a defensive back at Alcorn State University in Mississippi from 1978 to 1980 recording 20 career interceptions before forgoing his senior season to enter the NFL draft. Though he went undrafted, he was signed by the Chicago Bears and earned a starting role at cornerback by his second season.
A starter on Chicago’s famed 1985 defense, Frazier led the team that season with six interceptions, but suffered a severe knee injury in Super Bowl XX while returning a punt and had to be carted off the field. Unfortunately, the injury would cut Frazier’s career short after five seasons.
He turned his focus to coaching where he began as a head coach for NAIA program Trinity College in Illinois before moving on as an assistant at the University of Illinois. From there he was hired to Andy Reid’s Philadelphia Eagles staff in 1999 beginning what is currently a 24-year career in NFL coaching.
He won a Super Bowl as an Assistant head coach with the Indianapolis Colts in 2007 and served as head coach of the Minnesota Vikings from 2011-2013.
Frazier was hired by Bills head coach Sean McDermott in 2017 as defensive coordinator and added Assistant head coach to his title in 2020. During his tenure with the Bills, Buffalo’s defense has finished in the top three in total defense three times (2018, 2019, 2021) with the 2021 season ranking first in the league in total defense, pass defense, third-down defense, passer rating against and points allowed.
This is not the first Hall of Fame induction for Frazier. He was a 2017 inductee to the Mississippi Sports Hall of Fame.
Frazier, along with his fellow inductees, will be recognized for the first time at the Second Annual HBCU Legacy Bowl in New Orleans on February 25, 2023, and officially enshrined during the 14th Annual Black College Football Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony on Saturday, June 10, 2023, in Atlanta, Georgia.
Former Bills running back coach and former Bills defensive back also honored
Former Bills running backs coach Elijah Pitts and former Bills defensive back Pete Richardson were also named to the 2023 class. Pitts had two stints in Buffalo as the RB coach; one from 1978-1980 and another from 1985-1997. He also was the assistant head coach under Bills Legend Marv Levy from ’92-’97 and coached during all four of Buffalo’s Super Bowl appearances. Pitts attended HBCU school Philander Smith College from 1958-1961.
Richardson attended Dayton University as a defensive back and was drafted by the Bills in the sixth round of the 1968 NFL Draft. He played for the team from 1969-1971 and went on to coach at Southern University, an HBCU school, from 1993-2009. There, he won five Southwestern Athletic Conference (SWAC) titles and four Black College Football national championships.