This year’s edition of the Miami-Florida State game is on Veteran’s Day, November 11th, 2023. I grew up in a household where both of my grandfathers, my dad and my uncle served in the military and my grandmother was an administrative secretary for the military.
Today I would like to honor the men and women of the University of Miami Athletics Department, both past and present, who have served.
Ron Fraser, The Wizard of college baseball, served in the military in the late 50’s and early 60’s. While overseas, Fraser coached in Germany and the Netherlands. In 1963 he accepted the position as the Miami Hurricanes head baseball coach and the rest is history. Fraser won 1,271 games in orange and green, including two College World Series Championships (1982, 1985). Fraser’s career came full circle by coaching the US National Baseball team in the 1992 Olympics Games.
Tyler McMeans played offensive line for the ‘Canes from 2004-2005 after serving as in the United States Marine Corps. McMeans, who was discharged with the rank of corporal, spent most of his time in the USMC with a unit that “specialized in closed-quarters battle operations.” He went on to play for the Bears and the Berlin Thunder of NFL Europe.
Walt Kichefski aka “The Gator Hater,” served in World War II. Kichefski not only played at Miami, but also coached and mentored future ‘Canes coaches. He was a staple of the Miami program for almost 50 years. Kichefski coached future NFL Hall of Fame defensive end Ted Hendricks while The Mad Stork was at The U. Kichefski even served as UM’s head coach in 1970 with a record of 2-7.
Jack Harding and Lou Saban both served in the military as well. Harding coached the Hurricanes from 1937-1942, and ‘45-’47, compiling a 54-32-3 record. When Harding left to serve during WWII, Eddie Dunn took his place. Lou Saban, also a veteran during WWII, coached at Miami from 1977-1978 and finished with a 9-13 record with the ‘Canes.