CHAMPAIGN, Ill. -- In order to fill one his multiple assistant coach vacancies, Brad Underwood is bringing in a former Illinois player who has established himself in college basketball coaching circles.
Chester Frazier has agreed to join the Illinois coaching staff after spending two seasons as the associate head coach at Virginia Tech under Hokies head coach Mike Young.
The University of Illinois athletics department officially announced the coaching hire Thursday afternoon. Stadium.com basketball insider Jeff Goodman was the first to report this news early Thursday morning.
"We are thrilled to welcome Chester Frazier back to the University of Illinois and add one of the brightest young stars in the profession to our staff," Underwood said in a university release. "Chester's love for his alma mater has stayed with him throughout his brilliant rise in the coaching ranks. This place means a great deal to him, having sweat equity in our program. Chester is a leader, a competitor, and a winner. He's achieved great success, as a player here and as a coach at both Kansas State and Virginia Tech. His work ethic on the court and on the recruiting trail, combined with the strong relationships he builds with players, make him a tremendous addition to the Fighting Illini."
Frazier earned a bachelor's degree from Illinois in recreation management in 2009. He and his wife Sarah (also an Illinois graduate) have two children, daughter, Chandler and son, Cameron.
According to Illinois athletics spokesperson, Frazier has signed a 3-year contract that will be official following approval from the university's board of trustees approval at its May meeting. Illini Now/Sports Illustrated has confirmed from sources close to the men’s basketball program that Frazier met with the Illinois head coach in Chicago earlier this week to discuss an opening on Underwood’s coaching staff.
"I am thankful to Coach Young and the Virginia Tech players and staff for everything these last two years, and move on knowing that I've played a part in helping move that program forward," Frazier said in a university statement. "Having said that, I am honored and excited to get back to the University of Illinois, which I consider home. I have blood, sweat, and tears invested there, met my wife there, and deep down still bleed Orange and Blue. I am motivated to get to work and help our program win a Big Ten championship. It escaped me as a player – I finished second twice – so that is going to be what drives me every day, bringing a trophy home to Champaign."
The news on Frazier comes on the same day the University of Kentucky made official the news of the hiring of Illinois assistant Orlando Antigua and Ronald “Chin” Coleman, which Illini Now/SI had already confirmed days ago, creating multiple vacancies on the Illini staff.
“Orlando and Chin have been instrumental in the building of this program from day one, and they deserve a lot of credit for the success that we’ve experienced," Underwood said in a university statement. "They are dear friends who I’ll miss working alongside each day, and I am grateful for the impact they’ve had on my life, which is bigger than basketball. All the best to Coach O and Coach Chin from the Fighting Illini.”
Frazier, a native of Baltimore, is most noted to Illini fans as a former player under then-Illini head coach Bruce Weber from 2005-09 when he helped to three 20-win seasons and three trips to the NCAA Tournament. Frazier still ranks seventh at Illinois in career assists (484) and ninth in career assists per game (3.9) while earning honorable mention All-Big Ten Conference and Big Ten All-Defensive Team honors, while leading the Big Ten in assists (5.3 per game) his senior season. Following a two-year professional career overseas, Frazier began his coaching career as a graduate assistant at Illinois and followed Weber to Kansas State for seven seasons that included 150 wins, two Big 12 regular-season championships (2013 and 2019) and five NCAA Tournament appearances (2013, 2014, 2017, 2018, 2019).
Frazier has tutored 13 players named to All-Big 12 Conference teams during his time at KSU and helped mentor the 2019 Big 12 Defensive Player of the Year, four Big 12 All-Defensive Team members, as well as three players selected to the league’s All-Newcomer Team.
Following the 2015-16 season, Frazier was one of just six power conference assistant coaches selected to the 2016 Under Armour 30-under-30 Team presented by the National Association of Basketball Coaches at the Final Four in Houston.
Frazier has been a factor in the development of Virginia Tech’s perimeter play since joining Young’s staff and is known in the business as an excellent scout of opponents but industry sources will note Hokies assistant coach Christian Webster is responsible for a majority of the Hokies recent recruiting success.