Fritz Agrees To Multi-Year Contract Extension
Jan. 8, 2003
Manhattan, Kan. - Kansas State women's volleyball coach Suzie Fritz has agreed to a multi-year contract that continues her leadership of the Wildcat program through at least the 2005 season, director of athletics Tim Weiser announced Wednesday.
Fritz, who was named the Big 12 Coach of the Year in 2002 after guiding the Wildcats to a 21-9 overall record and a program-best second-place place finish in the league standings, agreed to a new three-year deal, Weiser said. The contract became effective January 1 and expires December 31, 2005. The deal replaces the original three-year contract that she signed in October 2001.
Financial terms were not disclosed.
"It was very important to us that Suzie be rewarded for an outstanding two-year performance," said Weiser. "To be named Big 12 Coach of the Year is a tremendous accomplishment. After coming into the program at a very critical time (being named interim head coach a week prior to the start of the 2001 season), she has continued the process of building our program into one of the nation's best. We feel like our volleyball program is in very good hands for years to come."
"My family is at home at Kansas State," said Fritz. "This is a tremendous environment and community to work and live in as we enjoy a great amount of support from our fans, the community of Manhattan and our administration. I feel as though my family and I can be both happy and successful in continuing to develop the volleyball program here at Kansas State. I sincerely thank Tim Weiser and Dr. Jon Wefald for their vote of confidence in me and my staff and our ability to continue to lead the program here at K-State."
One of the nation's youngest head coaches at 30, Fritz has guided Kansas State to a 41-17 (.707) overall record the past two seasons, including a 31-9 (.775) mark in Big 12 Conference play, and back-to-back appearances in the NCAA Tournament. In 2002, she took a team that was picked to finish fifth in the preseason coaches poll with just one senior starter and helped guide it to a program-best 16-4 mark in league play en route to a second-place finish, which tied the 2000 squad for the highest conference finish in school history. The team also tied the school record for consecutive wins with 13 straight from October 2 to November 20.
For the second time in her tenure, Kansas State hosted first- and second-round action of the NCAA Tournament in 2002. The Wildcats defeated Michigan in three games before falling in four games to 11th-ranked and eventual Elite Eight participant Washington State in the second round. K-State finished the season ranked 21st in the final AVCA/USA Today Top 25, marking the fifth straight season that the program has appeared in the final poll. Fritz is the first coach in the program's 29-year history to post back-to-back 20-win seasons in their first two seasons.
Under Fritz's supervision, six players have earned All-Big 12 honors the past two years, including posting school records for total selections (four) and first team selections (three) in 2002. This season, junior middle blocker Lauren Goehring, sophomore setter Gabby Guerre and junior outside hitter Cari Jensen were all named first team All-Big 12, while junior libero Laura Downey-Wallace was chosen the conference's Libero of the Year and an honorable mention pick. In addition, Downey-Wallace and Goehring were named to the honorable mention All-Central Region team. Her teams have also performed well in the classroom, placing seven players on the conference's academic first team each of the last two seasons. Cari Jensen became the first Wildcat in 20 years to earn Academic All-America honors when she was named to the third team this past season.
Fritz was named the program's permanent head coach on October 11, 2001, after guiding the team to a 9-5 overall record and a 5-3 mark in Big 12 play, as the team's interim coach. Prior to being named interim coach, she served four years as the program's top assistant, helping guide the Wildcats to an 82-43 (.656) record from 1997-2000 and four consecutive NCAA Tournaments.