Vicki Hames-Frazier: D1 athlete turned 30-year coach
When Vicki Hames-Frazier came to Greenhills in 1970, she was in 10th grade. She had come from a public school, so the athletic offerings were slightly different. Before, she’d played some sports that Greenhills didn’t even offer yet, like track. She was an athlete, so she was going to play sports no matter what, but now, suddenly, she needed to find new ones.
“It was an adjustment, to some degree,” Hames-Frazier said. “But I also realized that there were sports that I hadn’t focused on, but was good at.”
For instance, there was field hockey. Hames-Frazier picked up field hockey at Greenhills, and promptly went on to play Division 1 field hockey at Eastern Michigan University. At Greenhills, she also played basketball, volleyball, and softball.
At Eastern, though, Hames-Frazier could see that the men’s and women’s teams still weren’t on equal status. It was the very early days of Title IX, when the law was still being implemented and understood, and hadn’t quite reached enforcement yet.
“Even if you were good, there weren’t a lot of athletic scholarships being offered to women,” Hames-Frazier said. “Even though I went to college playing varsity field hockey, the only guarantee was status on the varsity team. At the time, we weren’t even given varsity letters.”
But she could see that things were slowly changing. Title IX wasn’t having much of an impact yet, but Hames-Frazier could see that it was on its way.
“I didn’t really focus on it, but I heard all the chatter about it,” she said. “I understood what it would mean and the role it would play in the future. It didn’t affect me much, but for those coming behind me, I saw it as something that was necessary.”
Hames-Frazier never left sports — and she never really left Greenhills. In 1979, she returned to the school as a coach, starting in middle school and eventually working her way up to high school. She coached at Greenhills for 30 years, with stints coaching field hockey, basketball, track, cross country, and swimming.
That desire to coach, she said, came from the coaches she worked with at Greenhills. She remembered their empathy and kindness, but also their fairness and encouragement of hard work.
“If you came to practices and you worked hard, you played in games,” she said.
Hames-Frazier certainly did work hard: you have to, to graduate as a four-sport varsity athlete with the hardware to prove it.
“I still have my varsity letters from Greenhills,” Hames-Frazier said.