Willie Fritz Named New Sam Houston State Head Football Coach

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Willie Fritz, who has produced an overall record of 220 victories and 66 losses in a 28-year career as both a head coach and an assistant, will become the 14th head football coach at Sam Houston State University.

Bobby Williams, Sam Houston director of athletics, made the announcement Friday afternoon. Fritz will meet with media at a news conference at the Ron Mafrige Field House at Bowers Stadium Monday morning at 11 a.m.
"Willie Fritz has coached championship teams at Central Missouri, Blinn, Coffeyville and Sam Houston," Williams said. "He is a proven motivator and recruiter. What impresses me most about his career is his success as a defensive and special teams coach. I've seen Willie on the sideline, in the locker room, breaking down film and on the recruiting trail and know first-hand of his work ethic, enthusiasm, integrity and ability."

The "winningest" coach in the University of Central Missouri's 113-year football history, Fritz rolled up a 97-47 record in 13 seasons as Mules head coach. In 12 of those seasons, Central Missouri has posted winning records. He is the only Central Missouri head coach to produce eight consecutive seasons of seven or more wins.

The Bearkats' new head football coach is no stranger to Sam Houston State. He served as a graduate assistant for Bearkat squads that went 16-6 in 1984-85 and won the 1985 Gulf Star Conference championship

He was the secondary and special teams coach for the Bearkats in 1991 and 1992, helping lead Sam Houston to a Southland Conference championship and starting a special teams success tradition that lasted more than a decade. The "block party" saw Kat special teams block 80 punts, field goals and extra points in the 14 seasons from 1991 to 2004.

"Willie Fritz has a proven track record as someone who can come in and turn a program around," Williams said. "With 16 years experience as a head coach and 12 as an assistant he has been successful everywhere he has worked. He recruits quality student-athletes who are motivated to excel both on the field and academically."

From 1993 to 1996, Fritz was head coach at Blinn College where turned around a program that had gone 5-24-1 in its three previous seasons. In just a short time, he produced a 39-5-1 record and two national junior college championships. For his efforts at Blinn, Fritz has been inducted into the NJCAA Hall of Fame.

As head coach at Central Missouri, Fritz led the Mules to their first post-season berth in 32 years when they defeated Minnesota-Duluth in the 2001 Mineral Water Bowl. A year later, Central Missouri earned its first NCAA Division II playoff berth after winning the Mid-America Athletic Association (MIAA) championship. Fritz coached 152 All-MIAA performers including 41 first team selections and 24 All-Americans. Fritz ranks No. 15 among active NCAA Division II head coach in victories.

In his 13 years at UCM, the Mules enjoyed an 84 percent graduation rate with three Academic All-Americans, 14 Academic All-Region and 144 MIAA Commissioner's Academic Honor Roll selections. Central Missouri ranked No. 11 in NCAA Division II football attendance.

Fritz was the second member of his family to coach at Central Missouri. His father, the late Harry Fritz, was the Mules' head football coach in 1952 and later become executive director of the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA).

"Many thanks go out to several members of our Sam Houston community including university officials, athletic staff and coaches and friends of the program who participated in the interview process," Williams said. "After hosting an outstanding group of six candidates who visited the campus, we received overwhelming support for Coach Fritz from everyone who was involved in the process."

Fritz played college football at Pittsburg State University where he was a four-year starter as a defensive back and played on two conference championship teams. He was a student assistant coach for the Gorillas in 1982.

Fritz served as an assistant football coach at Shawnee Mission Northwest High School in Kansas in 1983 and at Willis High School in Texas in 1986 and was defensive coordinator at Coffeyville Community College in Kansas from 1987 to 1990.

Fritz and his wife Susan have three children, Wesley (19), Elaine (17) and Brooke (12).

School Years Position Record Other
Pittsburg State 1982 Student Assistant 7-2 1982 Conference Champions
Shawnee Mission Northwest HS 1983 Assistant Coach 7-2
Sam Houston State 1984-85 Graduate Assistant 16-6 1985 Conference Champions
Willis High School 1986 Assistant Coach 6-4
Coffeyville CC 1987-90 Defensive Coordinator 34-6-1 Three post-season bowl games
Sam Houston State 1991-92 Secondary/Special Teams 14-5-3 1991 Conference Champions
Blinn College 1993-96 Head Coach 39-5-1
1994 National Champions
1996 National Champions

Central Missouri 1997-2009 Head Coach 97-47 2001 Mineral Water Bowl
2002 Conference Champions

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