Willie Fritz Should Have Been Coach of the Year
by Cheval John
When it was all said and done, five finalist were named in the Liberty Mutual Coach of the Year. The interesting part is that Sam Houston State Bearkats head football coach Willie Fritz was not among the finalist. To add insult to injury, Holy Cross head football coach Tom Gilmore was one of the finalist and his team finished with a 6-5 record.
In order to be considered for the award, a person must meet these requirements: sportsmanship, integrity, responsibility, excellence on the field and excellence in the classroom.
Once that person meet the requirements, they must receive the highest number of votes from the fans (20%), the college football Hall of Fame Selection Committee (55%), and from the National Media (25%) in order to win the award.
I understand that the sportswriters, broadcasters, former players and coaches who make up the Hall of Fame Selection Committee and the National Media have been in this business longer than I have and are considered experts, but they drop the ball on this one.
Here are the reasons why Coach Fritz not only should have been finalist, but should have won the award:
Sportsmanship: Though the Bearkats committed 79 penalties during the season, their opponents as a whole committed 83 total penalties.
Integrity: Coach Fritz has run a clean program since he became head coach in 2009. None of the players have been arrested and they have not committed a single NCAA infraction even before he arrived as head coach.
Responsibility: The football team participated in “Operation All In,” a program that was a joint effort with the SHSU ROTC. It ran during the spring 2011 semester and it taught them how to work together as a team. Also, they sported an orange, white and black camouflaged jersey in the homecoming game against Nicholls State Colonels. The jerseys were auctioned off and the proceeds went to the Lone Survivor Foundation, an organization founded by former Bearkat and retired Navy SEAL Marcus Luttrell.
Excellence On The Field: The Bearkats finished the season undefeated and was the outright Southland Conference Champions and made the NCAA Football Championship Subdivision playoffs for the first time since 2004. It was their fourth title in the 25 years that they have been in the FCS. The previous three were shared with McNeese State (1991, 2001) and Northwestern State (2004). Sophomore running back Tim Flanders and junior safety Darnell Taylor was named the Southland Conference “Offensive Player of the Year”and “Defensive Player of the Year,” respectively.
Excellence In The Classroom: Not only is the team successful on the field, but are successful in the classroom. The grade point average (g.p.a.) for the team is a 2.7. Among them, 31 made the 2010-11 Southland Commissioner’s Academic Honor Roll and senior center Travis Watson was nominated for the 2011 National Scholar Athlete Award, the same award that was won by both Eli and Peyton Manning.
In conclusion, I have given examples to show why Coach Fritz should have been the Liberty Mutual Coach of the Year. If this doesn’t convince them that this was the biggest snub that was made, then I don’t know what will.
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