Friday, January 10, 2014
STATESBORO, Ga. – Georgia Southern Director of Athletics Tom Kleinlein today announced the hiring of Willie Fritz as the ninth head football coach in the program’s modern history. A proven winner with more than 30 years of coaching experience, Fritz led Sam Houston State to back-to-back Southland Conference titles, NCAA FCS championship appearances in 2011 and 2012, and a third-straight playoff berth this past year. In 21 years as a head coach, Fritz owns a 72.3 winning percentage with a record of 176-67-1 and more than a few trophies for his accomplishments at the national, regional and conference levels.
The Liberty Mutual Coach of the Year at the FCS level in 2012, Fritz was recognized nationally in 2011 as the American Football Coaches Association (AFCA) Coach of the Year. Honored as the AFCA Regional Coach of the Year in 2011 and 2012, Fritz was selected by the media and his peers in the Southland Conference as the league’s Coach of the Year in 2011 after his team went a perfect 7-0 in conference play.
In 2011 and 2012, Sam Houston State posted the two highest single-season win totals in program history with marks of 14-1 (2011) and 11-4 (2012) and Bearkat players were showered with accolades. More than 50 earned All-Southland Conference honors under Fritz in the last four years, not including additional “Player of the Year,” “Offensive Player of the Year,” “Defensive Player of the Year,” and “Newcomer of the Year” awards. All-America status from national coaching and media outlets were bestowed on 11 Sam Houston State players during his tenure.
Fritz comes to Georgia Southern after four years as the head coach of the Bearkats and his most recent of three total tours in Huntsville. His resume includes a wealth of experience across the board, notably as a coach with an innate ability to connect with his players, demand accountability and build winning programs.
After a highly successful tenure at Blinn College, averaging nearly 10 wins a season during his four years there, Fritz left to revitalize
a Central Missouri program and guided it to 11 winning seasons. The NCAA Division II program’s ledger included two 10-win seasons with the 2001 Mule squad earning its first postseason trip in more than 30 years. In 2002, Central Missouri made its first-ever appearance in the NCAA Division II playoffs and was the Mid-America Athletic Association (MIAA) co-champion a year later. A 97-47 mark in 13 seasons ranks Fritz as the winningest coach in the program’s 118-year history. He was the only coach to ever win seven or more games in eight consecutive seasons and his victory total ranked him 15th among active Division II coaches at the time.