May 13, 2011
D-III National Champion Coach Fritz Confirms Retirement

ST. PAUL — Steve Fritz said he had already decided to step down as head basketball coach at St. Thomas before his team won the Division III national title this past season.

But he certainly doesn’t mind the idea of going out on top.

“I had made the decision before that, said Fritz, who announced his decision at a news conference Thursday. But (winning the national title) sure made this a sweet way to do it.”

Fritz will remain the athletic director at St. Thomas. In fact, he said stepping away from basketball will allow him to focus more closely on those duties.

“This is something I’ve been working on for awhile now, Fritz said. The job has grown so much on the athletic director’s side of things. We have a new facility (the $52 million Anderson Athletic and Recreation Complex, which opened at the start of this school year) and it takes more time to manage that.

“The success of our football team is something we’ve wanted here for a long time. But it also means football season overlaps more with basketball, and there are duties I have to perform as athletic director from that standpoint.

“So this just seemed like as good a time as any to split the jobs.”

Assistant coach John Tauer will take over the job on an interim basis through next season, and the search for a permament replacement will begin next spring.

“With kids coming back next season, we didn’t want to start a search now and extend it into the summer, Fritz said. We wanted to keep some consistency and John will do a great job.”

Fritz was an All-MIAC standout as a player at St. Thomas from 1967-71. He then served as an assistant coach at the school under Tom Feely before taking over the head job in 1980. In his 31 seasons, his teams had just one losing record and he finished with an overall record of 594-246.

He ranked second only to St. John’s coach Jim Smith in terms of longevity in the MIAC men’s coaching ranks.

Smith said Thursday he was surprised by the decision.

“I hate to see him leave, Smith said. He’s a classy guy and he’s done a super job there. He’s done a great job with that program over the years.”

Smith has known Fritz since the latter was a high school player.

“I tried to recruit him out of high school, said Smith, who will enter his 48th season at St. John’s next year. I remember walking around campus with him. I wish he would have come here. But he’s forged his own great path at St. Thomas.

“It’s been fun to compete against him.

“It’s always been a great rivalry.”

D-III National Champion Coach Fritz Confirms Retirement

St. Cloud Times (Minn.), Frank Rajkowski

http://www.sctimes.com/article/20110513/SPORTS04/105130005/St-Thomas-basketball-coach-Fritz-retiring-after-D-III-national-title-win?odyssey=nav|head

ST. PAUL — Steve Fritz said he had already decided to step down as head basketball coach at St. Thomas before his team won the Division III national title this past season.

But he certainly doesn’t mind the idea of going out on top.

“I had made the decision before that, said Fritz, who announced his decision at a news conference Thursday. But (winning the national title) sure made this a sweet way to do it.”

Fritz will remain the athletic director at St. Thomas. In fact, he said stepping away from basketball will allow him to focus more closely on those duties.

“This is something I’ve been working on for awhile now, Fritz said. The job has grown so much on the athletic director’s side of things. We have a new facility (the $52 million Anderson Athletic and Recreation Complex, which opened at the start of this school year) and it takes more time to manage that.

“The success of our football team is something we’ve wanted here for a long time. But it also means football season overlaps more with basketball, and there are duties I have to perform as athletic director from that standpoint.

“So this just seemed like as good a time as any to split the jobs.”

Assistant coach John Tauer will take over the job on an interim basis through next season, and the search for a permament replacement will begin next spring.

“With kids coming back next season, we didn’t want to start a search now and extend it into the summer, Fritz said. We wanted to keep some consistency and John will do a great job.”

Fritz was an All-MIAC standout as a player at St. Thomas from 1967-71. He then served as an assistant coach at the school under Tom Feely before taking over the head job in 1980. In his 31 seasons, his teams had just one losing record and he finished with an overall record of 594-246.

He ranked second only to St. John’s coach Jim Smith in terms of longevity in the MIAC men’s coaching ranks.

Smith said Thursday he was surprised by the decision.

“I hate to see him leave, Smith said. He’s a classy guy and he’s done a super job there. He’s done a great job with that program over the years.”

Smith has known Fritz since the latter was a high school player.

“I tried to recruit him out of high school, said Smith, who will enter his 48th season at St. John’s next year. I remember walking around campus with him. I wish he would have come here. But he’s forged his own great path at St. Thomas.

“It’s been fun to compete against him.

“It’s always been a great rivalry.”






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