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1967, the first time they played

While the men’s series has been well documented since the original varsity contest on the night of December 18, 1973, records of an earlier meeting were discovered in a search of the Briar Cliff archives. It describes the “inaugural” meeting between the BCU and MC men’s programs, a game that occurred nearly six years earlier than the official contest. The fledging BCU men’s program needed as much court time as possible, considering they were mostly freshmen with just a sprinkling of transfers. Add to that, they played as an independent: scheduling could be a nightmare.

Morningside would play just freshmen in the game, therefore, it never shows in that college’s record books. But it was a historic evening nonetheless. Dave Holub, who scored 14 for the Chiefs that night, remembers “as freshmen, we were ineligible to play for the varsity. We played our games before the varsity and no one ever came to watch us. This night, though, we go on court to warm up, and we said, ‘Hey, we have a crowd today.’ Now, it’s not a packed Allee, but its noticeably more than we usually saw for our games. I remember watching as about a half dozen nuns made their way up the stands. We knew this was the first-ever matchup with Briar Cliff; there was something in the air that night.”

The Chargers had traveled across town to Allee that evening with several players who would ring up time in the record books. Besides Ron Schultz, who would score 1,353 points in his career, there was 1,307-point scorer Jim Hinrich, the first Charger to score 40 points in a game, and Ray Wingert, a transfer from Wayne State, who had over 500 points and 500 rebounds in his two-year career. Though they would become the first wave of Charger greats, they were still in their team’s infancy. Morningside responded with Mike White, Dave Holub, Lance Larson, and Chuck George, who piled up a game-leading 32 points in the 87-80 Chief victory. George, who left Morningside and served in Vietnam, came back to join the Chargers program for one year in 1974–75 but did not play in the second varsity contest between the two schools. As one of his former teammates said, “Chuck came back a different man after Vietnam.” It was a different era then. As Dave Holub recalls, “We always seemed to end the regular season with a game against Iowa State Teachers College, now UNI [University of Northern Iowa]. We were driving back from Cedar Falls listening to the radio for the draft numbers; not the NBA draft, the Vietnam draft numbers. Of course, Lance Larson was 365, but I had 48, and I think Mike White had a similar number.”

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Rolando Frazer

Probably no single player’s name is associated more with Briar Cliff men’s basketball than Rolando’s. Immediately, everyone in the Siouxland area knows you are talking about Rolando Frazer (1977–81), the first three-time All-American at BCU. Described by various teammates and foes alike as slender, quick, a leaper, super-quick, dynamic, he came to Sioux City and led the Chargers to a 101-17 mark in his four seasons. As teammate Mark Grace stated, “When Rolando came off the bench, instead of starting his freshman year, opponents were shocked by his talent and would ask us why he wasn’t starting.” Even though he was surrounded by great players during his career (Eddie Warren, Grace, Mario Butler, Tito Malcolm, Reggie Grenald, etc.), Rolando was always the focal point of Briar Cliff’s offense and their opponents’ game plans.

I talked with Frazer by phone in February 2018. His home is in Puerto Rico, and after Hurricane Maria swept through the island in September of 2017, it took until December for his house to receive power again. However, he had nothing but happy thoughts when we talked about his time at Briar Cliff. “My experience was really good; Ray and his family treated me nice. I got to play ball all over the country. I have good memories of Briar Cliff.” He also has a warm spot for the man who connected us, Patrick Noonan, Rolando’s roommate for all four years. “Pete and his whole family treated me like I was part of their family. He is the godfather to one of my daughters.” The three daughters are a tremendous source of pride to Frazer. “All three have their masters’ degrees, and one will make me a grandfather soon.” Rolando Frazer, a grandfather? To those of us lucky enough to have seen him in his prime, it’s a difficult thing to imagine. But then, he’s not necessarily out of his prime yet. “I will be 60 this year [2018], and I and Tito [Malcolm] are going to Queens, New York, for a Masters [basketball] tournament. Tito is 62 now.”