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Student newspaper serving Tulane University, Uptown New Orleans

The Tulane Hullabaloo

Student newspaper serving Tulane University, Uptown New Orleans

The Tulane Hullabaloo

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Tulane searches for new coach post-Fritz

After+the+loss+to+SMU%2C+Tulane+head+football+coach+Willie+Fritz+announced+his+new+position+as+head+coach+of+football+the+University+of+Houston.
Courtesy of Parker Waters
After the loss to SMU, Tulane head football coach Willie Fritz announced his new position as head coach of football the University of Houston.

Tulane head football coach Willie Fritz announced his departure from Tulane University following the team’s loss to Southern Methodist University in the American Athletic Conference Championship. 

Effective immediately, Fritz will become University of Houston’s head football coach, his first Power 5 position in his career. 

After Houston’s transition from the AAC to the Big 12 this past year, the team went 4-8, leading them to fire head coach Dana Holgerson

Although it was a disheartening end to Fritz’s final season at Tulane, he ensured his commitment to the Green Wave during the AAC Championship postgame press conference. 

“I put in everything for this game, this week, and made sure there wasn’t any distractions, and I just want to focus on this ball game right now,” Fritz said.

According to the Houston Chronicle, Fritz is set to earn $4.5 million in his five-year deal with the University of Houston. 

In a statement to the Associated Press, Fritz expressed his excitement for the career transition. “I am truly humbled and honored to join the University of Houston family and to be a part of the strong athletics tradition. There is no ceiling for success, with the incredible fan support, excellent facilities, talented young men and a collective desire to compete for championships. We will build a program that all Coogs can be proud of, and I cannot wait to see the results.” 

Houston is looking for the clear trajectory that Fritz has given Tulane’s team in his eight years here. 

“No one in the country has been better at leading and developing student-athletes than Willie Fritz,” Chris Pezman, Houston’s vice president of athletics, said to the Associated Press.

The next head coach of the Tulane Football program has big shoes to fill. Fritz’s eight seasons as head coach were nothing short of memorable, especially in his last two.

Coming off of a 2-10 season in 2021 following the events of Hurricane Ida, Tulane became the only college football program to redeem its record of 10 wins between seasons. 

In the 2022 season, the Green Wave went 12-2, beating University of Central Florida in the AAC Championship and later defeating the University of Southern California in the 2023 Cotton Bowl Classic. The team ended their extraordinary run as ninth in the country on the Associated Press NCAA football rankings. 

This year, the Green Wave continued their success stint going 11-1 in regular season games and ending No. 23 on the AP NCAA rankings. The team earned a spot in the 2023 AAC championship but ultimately fell short on Saturday at Yulman Stadium to SMU. 

Following these achievements, Fritz earned AAC Coach of the Year the past two years.

What does this loss mean for the future of the program? 

Tulane’s athletic department has lost three key staff members in the past month — former athletic director Troy Dannen, former associate athletic director Amanda Robinson and Fritz. 

Although his role tenure begins Jan. 3, incoming athletic director David Harris said he is eager to hire a head coach for the team following Fritz’s departure. 

In a message to the Tulane community, President Mike Fitts addressed the search for a new head coach. 

In concert with Athletic Director David Harris, we have hired a national search firm to quickly identify our program’s new leader within the week, one that will continue to elevate the profile of Tulane’s football program, our student-athletes, and the university overall. We are committed to continuing the upward trajectory of our athletics program,” Fitts said in an email on Sunday. 

Assistant coach and offensive coordinator Slade Nagle was appointed interim head coach on Sunday. 

The Green Wave is now preparing for its Military Bowl matchup versus Virginia Tech on Dec. 27 at the Navy-Marine Corps Memorial Stadium in Annapolis, Maryland.

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