Central Missouri honors Fritz’s legacy


Courtesy of Tulane Athletics

On Feb. 11, football head coach Willie Fritz was inducted into the University of Central Missouri athletics hall of fame.

Coaching the Central Missouri Mules runs in the Fritz family.

On Feb. 11, Central Missouri honored second-generation head football coach Willie Fritz for his dedication to the football program by giving him one of the school’s highest honors. Fritz was inducted into its Athletics Hall of Fame as a coach* on the Warrensburg, Missouri campus. Established in 1991, the Hall of Fame, as of now, honors 214 individuals and 59 teams.

Fritz followed in his late father Harry Fritz’s footsteps when he accepted the position as Central Missouri head coach in 1997. His father coached the team in 1952 and then became the executive director of the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics.

Fritz spent 13 seasons at Central Missouri, leading the Mules to their first postseason appearance in 32 years after defeating Minnesota-Duluth in 2001 at the Mineral Water Bowl. The next year, the program earned its first appearance at the NCAA Division II playoffs after winning the Mid-America Athletic Association championship. Fritz is the winningest coach in school’s history with an overall record of 97-47.

In 2009, Fritz left Central Missouri and became the 14th head coach at Sam Houston State, where he remained until 2014. He then spent a season as head coach for Georgia Southern. On December 11, 2015, ESPN reported that Willie Fritz would become the 39th head football coach at Tulane.

Through his many different positions, Fritz has cultivated strong athletic programs and left his mark at every college and university he has coached.

Fritz, a modern era selection, was inducted into the hall of fame alongside seven other people and four teams.

*Inductees are chosen from two eras: an early era that spans 30 or more years prior to the year or selection and a modern era, which covers a time period between 5 and 30 years prior to the selection year.

Induction into the Hall of Fame as a coach requires their work with the university to have been for at least five years. Their work with the university must also have been terminated at least five years prior. 

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