Fritz signs new five-year contract

By The Mercury

Kansas State volleyball coach Suzie Fritz has signed a new multi-year contract, securing the services of the program’s all-time winningest coach through the 2016 season, K-State athletic director John Currie announced Monday afternoon.

The new five-year deal, approved in April by the K-State Athletics (KSA) Board of Directors, is retroactive to Jan. 1, 2012, extends to Dec. 31, 2016, and replaces the five-year contract Fritz signed in 2008.

Fritz will be paid $130,000 in 2012-13 and will receive a $3,500 base salary increase each year, plus be eligible for a $20,000 per-year retention incentive upon completion of the five-year contract term.

“Coach Fritz has established herself as a national leader amongst collegiate volleyball coaches through both the athletic and academic achievement of her student-athletes,” Currie said in a release. “She and her staff epitomize our vision of a model intercollegiate athletics program in the way they mentor young women on and off the court, while maintaining the type of leadership that is critical to our continued competitive success in the Big 12. She is the perfect fit for K-State, and we are delighted to be able to reward her loyalty with this enhanced long-term contract.”

In her 11 years as the head coach of the Wildcats, Fritz has coached K-State to a record of 217-127 (.631), and guided the Cats to eight NCAA tournament appearances.

“I am proud to be a part of the tradition associated with K-State Athletics,” Fritz said in a release. “The loyalty and support that we enjoy from the university, our administration, the Manhattan community and our fans is what sets Kansas State apart from the rest.

“I know that it is cliché to say it’s about the people, but in this case it is absolutely true. Steve, myself and our family love being here and there is no place we’d rather be.”

K-State’s 2011 NCAA tournament run was capped by one of the biggest wins in program history when the Wildcats upset No. 2-ranked Nebraska on the Cornhuskers’ home floor in five sets in the second round of the NCAA tournament to reach the Regional Semifinals in Hawaii.

It marked the highest ranked team the Wildcats have defeated and the first time ever the Huskers lost on their home floor during the first two rounds of the tournament.

In 2003, Fritz led the team to its first Big 12 title with a league record of 18-2. That year the Wildcats went 30-5 overall and reached the Regional Semifinals for the second time in school history, while Lauren Goehring was selected the Big 12 Player of the Year.

Fritz also earned Big 12 Coach of the Year for the second time, as she also won the award in 2002 after the Wildcats went 21-9 overall and finished second in the league at 16-4 in just her second year as the head coach.

As a head coach, Fritz has guided five Wildcats to six AVCA All-America honors. Most recently, middle blocker Kaitlynn Pelger was named AVCA All-America honorable mention, joining Vali Hejjas (2004) and Gabby Guerre (2003).

Goehring earned AVCA All-America First Team honors in 2003, and Nataly Korobkova was named to the AVCA All-America Third Team twice in her career (2007-2008).

In Fritz’s first year as a head coach, Liz Wegner earned honorable mention from Volleyball Magazine. In Fritz’s tenure, a Wildcat has been named Big 12 Libero of the Year four times and twice Big 12 Newcomer of the Year.

The program has put an emphasis on academics under Fritz’s leadership and the team has won the prestigious AVCA Team Academic Award eight times. The award is given to programs with a combined team GPA of 3.30 or higher.

K-State has also consistently ranked among the national leaders in attendance in Ahearn Field House.

In games played at Ahearn Field House, Fritz is 115-45 as the Wildcat head coach, which includes 10 or more wins in eight seasons and a perfect 16-0 mark in 2003.

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