Earl "Mule" Frazier

HHS Class of 1918

Earl Craig Frazier was born in Hillsboro, Texas on September 27, 1898. He was the son of Samuel H. and Minnie Craig Frazier. The following information was printed in a 2001 book, Mule's Tale, by Amanda Buschman. “Upon graduation from high school Frazier was recruited by the Texas A & M College track coach. It is reported in the 1926 school year book, Olmos, that when Frazier reported for his first track work-out at A&M the coach advised him that he would not be able to run without shoes, as was his practice in high school. Earl objected, pointing out that he had set the state record while running bare-foot. The coach called him “Mule” headed and insisted that in order to compete for A&M he would have to buy a pair of track shoes. Frazier chose not to comply and transferred to Baylor University.”

This story may have some truth to it, but the original nickname came from Hillsboro. The 1916 HHS yearbook shows a picture of Earl with “Mule” written underneath. Earl Frazier was stubborn at an early age. Earl came from an athletic family. His brother Oscar was a hurdler at Texas A & M and later the track coach at Tarleton. Frazier Field at Tarleton State University is named in honor of Oscar.

Little is known about his early years, but Earl jumped onto the scene in 1917 at the state track meet, scoring 13 individual points at the meet…good enough for a 3rd place team finish behind team champion Georgetown. By the way…Georgetown’s team only scored 16 points. Frazier won two gold medals at the 1917 state track meet. He won the 120 yard hurdles, running a state record time of 14.4, and the 220 yard hurdles with a time of 27.8. Earl also added a bronze with a 3rd place finish in the 100 yard dash.

In 1918 Hillsboro won the team championship at the state track meet. The team earned 24 points to defeat 2nd place Franklin. Frazier scored 22 points (46 points by today’s standard) by winning four events and placing 3rd in a fifth. He won the 120 yard hurdles with a time of 14.4 (which matched his own state record), the 220 yard hurdles with a new state record time of 26.4, the 100 yard dash with a time of 10.4, and the 220 yard dash with a mark of 23.4. Frazier also earned a bronze in the long jump.

In two years of competition at the state track meet, Earl Frazier won 6 gold and 2 bronze medals. In addition to his individual medals, Frazier finished 3rd place in the team competition in 1917, and the team earned a 1st place finish in 1918. Arguably, Earl “Mule” Frazier could be the most decorated athlete in HHS history.

Earl graduated from Hillsboro High School in 1918. He originally attended Texas A & M, but after some disagreements with the track coach he transferred to Baylor University. Frazier excelled while at Baylor. The following is an excerpt from “TEXAS HIGH SCHOOL TRACK CHAMPIONS, 1905-2012” written by Dr. William “Billy” Wilbanks. More information may be found at DrBillyWilbanks.com.

Earl C. Frazier ran track at Baylor University in 1919-21, 1923, where he was known as “Mule” Frazier and became Baylor’s first track All-American. During Frazier’s freshman year there was no track or track coach and yet the freshman Frazier was the star of the Southern A.A.U. in New Orleans where he won first in the junior division in the 120 yard hurdles and second in the 220 yard hurdles and the 100 & 220 yard dashes giving him individual high point honors. In his sophomore year Earl was placed in charge of building a cinder track at Baylor and a coach was chosen. Success came quickly for the Bears who won four of their first five meets and were 2nd in the SWC meet though Frazier was sick for much of the 1920 season. He recovered in time to win both hurdles at the Southern A.A.U. At the national A.A.U. meet in CA, Frazier set two new world junior records in the 120 hurdles (15.2) and the 220 hurdles (24.4). He had twice broken the junior world record in the 220 hurdles earlier at New Orleans and Dallas.

In both 1921 & 1923 Mule won the SWC championship in both the 120 yard hurdles (15.8 in 1921 & 15.4 in 1923) and 220 yard hurdles (25.6 in 1921 & 24.6 in 1923). He broke a hurdles record held by Clyde Littlefield. Earl won both hurdles (setting a Southern record in the lows) at the 1921 Southern A.A.U. and was 3rd in the 220 yard hurdles in the first ever NCAA meet in Chicago (qualifying him as an NCAA All-American). He won 1st in the 120 yard and 220 yard hurdles and 100 yard dash at the 1923 Southern Intercollegiate Athletic Association meet in New Orleans where he had won both hurdles in 1920-21 & 1923 (he missed the 1922 season because of injury). Frazier, the Baylor track captain in 1923, finished 5th in the 220-yd low hurdles at the 1923 NCAA meet to become a two-time All-American. Mule was also a back on the Baylor football team in 1920.

Frazier narrowly missed making two U.S. Olympic teams as he finished 2nd in both hurdle events at the Southern Olympic trials in New Orleans in 1920 and made the semi-finals in the 110 meter hurdles at the national Olympic trials in Boston. Though his eligibility for collegiate meets ended after the 1923 track season, Frazier represented Baylor in the 1924 track season at several national meets (he twice pushed Illinois’ Riley to world records in the 400 meter hurdles during pre-Olympic trials meets) and won the 110 meter hurdles and the 400 meter hurdles at the Southern A.A.U. Olympic Trials in New Orleans. He was sent to New Orleans by the Baylor Chamber of Commerce (of which he was president). At the 1924 Olympic trials in Boston, Frazier was leading in the high hurdles when he hit a hurdle and fell, ending his track career. Mule Frazier was a widely known sports official for 40 years and was the official starter for the Texas Relays for over 30 years and at the Border Olympics in Laredo which are now called the Mule Frazier Border Olympics. Also, the “Mule Frazier Award” is given each year to a track official who most represents the legacy of Frazier. Earl was elected to the Baylor Hall of Fame in 1963. Mule was also inducted into the Sporting Goods Agents Association Hall of Fame and his company, Frazier Sports, still operates in Waco. A version of this article was published in the Hillsboro Reporter on May 8, 2003.

After graduating from Baylor in 1923 Frazier coached in Mineral Wells. After one year he moved to Alamo Heights High School in San Antonio, where he coached until 1928. His 1926 team, as the story goes, went undefeated and earned a city championship. The current Alamo Height webpage states the following: The History of the Alamo Heights Mascot - In 1926, former head coach Earl "Mule" Frazier led the football team to its first District championship and gave Alamo Heights its mascot, the Mule. Today, the Mule stands for outstanding spirit and support of the Alamo Heights Community, Faculty, Staff, and Students - past, present, and future.

He became the first coach (of four sports) at San Antonio’s Alamo Heights in 1924 and served until 1928 (the team is still known as the “Mules after their original coach). Earl went into business as a manufacturer’s rep and sales manager in sporting goods. He organized his own company, E.C. Frazier & Associates, in 1946, and served as its president until his death on December 5, 1972 in Waco, Texas.