CORAL GABLES, Fla. - Special video messages from Jimmy Johnson, Skip Bertman and Jim Abbott recognizing former head baseball coach Ron Fraser have been added to the Celebration of Life ceremony program, the University announced Wednesday.
Johnson was head coach of the University of Miami from 1984-88. At UM, Johnson compiled a 52-9 record, including a National Championship season in 1987. He was inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame in 2012.
Bertman is a South Florida baseball legend, having excelled at Miami Beach High and the University of Miami before embarking on one of the storied coaching careers in college baseball history. As assistant to Ron Fraser, he helped the Hurricanes become a perennial national power, winning the 1982 National Championship before departing to become head coach at Louisiana State, where he captured five National Championships with the Tigers.
Abbott is regarded as an American inspiration, overcoming a missing right hand to play professional baseball. Abbott captured the 1987 Sullivan Award as America's top amateur athlete, starred for Coach Fraser on the 1987 Pan American Games team and won gold at the 1988 Olympics. He went on to pitch 11 seasons in Major League Baseball, winning 87 games and throwing a no-hitter in 1993 with the New York Yankees.
The Celebration of Life ceremony for Ron Fraser will be held from 4 to 6 p.m. Sat., Feb. 23, in the Knight Sports Complex on the University of Miami campus. The event is free and open to the public, but seating is limited and guests are encouraged to arrive early. The doors will open at 3 p.m. Casual attire is suggested for the event, which will be followed by the Hurricanes' baseball game at Alex Rodriguez Park at Mark Light Field.
Johnson, Bertman and Abbott will join featured guest speaker and Baseball Hall of Famer Tommy Lasorda, former football coach Howard Schnellenberger and long-time ESPN broadcaster Hank Goldberg on an all-star program that will talk about the impact Ron Fraser had on the University of Miami, on South Florida, on college baseball and on the players he coached and fans he made.
Following the Celebration of Life, the University of Miami will take on University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee in a 7 p.m. game. The game has been designated as the "Remembering Ron Fraser" game, with special activities planned and all ticket proceeds being donated to the Ron Fraser Wizard Fund, established by UM to raise the funding for a bronze statue of Coach Ron Fraser, to be located at the ballpark.
Tickets to the game are available for as low as $8, with chairback sections available for $14. Specially-priced $6 tickets are available for groups of 15 or more. To purchase tickets to the "Remembering Ron Fraser" game, visit CanesTix.com or call (305) 284-2263.