Courtesy: K-State Athletics
MANHATTAN, Kan. – Suzie Fritz, K-State volleyball’s winningest coach and leader of the program for the last decade-and-a-half, has signed a four-year contract extension, K-State Athletics Director John Currie has announced.
Fritz agreed to the extension through the 2020 season, which was approved by the K-State Athletics, Inc., Board of Directors and President Kirk Schulz. Fritz had one year remaining on her current five-year contract signed in 2012. Under the new deal, she will receive a base salary of $161,500 in 2016; $166,500 in 2017; $171,500 in 2018; $174,500 in 2019; and $177,500 in 2020.
“First, I would like to thank President Kirk Schulz and Athletics Director John Currie for their continued support of me, my staff and our program,” Fritz said. “Under their leadership, we have seen tremendous things happen at Kansas State University, and I am extremely proud to have the opportunity to be a part of their team. We place tremendous value on being part of the K-State Family and are very blessed to work at such an exceptional University within the wonderful community of Manhattan.”
Fritz, 43, is 295-168 (.637) in her 15-year head coaching career, all of which has been spent at K-State. The longest-tenured coach in program history has accumulated 158 of her 295 wins in Big 12 play, placing her fourth in league history in career conference wins.
“Being the volleyball coach at K-State is sincerely my dream job,” Fritz added. “During our time here we have coached and been a part of the lives of many extraordinary young women who have gone on to have impactful careers, which is an incredibly rewarding experience for us as coaches. I am thankful for the opportunity to continue to have that role in addition to maintaining the wonderful relationships with our exceptional staff and administration. My family loves K-State and Manhattan, and we are thrilled to serve and represent both for many years to come.”
Originally from Clay Center, Kansas, Fritz has guided K-State to 11 NCAA Tournament appearances, including four over the last five years. Since 2001, the Wildcats’ 11 trips to the NCAA Tournament are the second-most by current Big 12 teams.
“Under Coach Fritz’s leadership, we have achieved sustained success with 11 NCAA Tournaments in her 15 seasons including appearances in four of the past five years,” Currie said. “She has done a tremendous job as head coach while being a great role model and mentor for our student-athletes, and we look forward to continued success with her leading our volleyball program.”
The Wildcats have been ranked 124 times under Fritz while she has also taken three teams that were not ranked in the preseason AVCA Coaches Poll to be slotted in the final poll of the respective season. The last time she lifted a team from outside the top-25 into the final poll was in 2011 when K-State reached the “Sweet 16” of the NCAA Tournament for the third time in program history.
From an individual awards standpoint, Fritz has tutored Wildcats to earn 12 All-America honors, 18 all-region selections, 40 All-Big 12 awards, and 101 Academic All-Big 12 distinctions (the most in the conference since 2001).
The Academic All-Big 12 honors represent Fritz’s leadership in success on and off the court. The Wildcats, who had a perfect APR score in 2013-14, have garnered 12 AVCA Academic Team Awards under Fritz, including one in each of the last five years. This past season, Katie Brand and Kersten Kober were the only Big 12 student-athletes to earn academic all-district honors, bringing the total honorees of that award to 18 in Fritz’s tenure. Kober also earned the program’s first Big 12 Scholar-Athlete of the Year award this past season.
Last season, Fritz helped a team without any seniors overcome a 1-3 start to conference play by winning eight of its final 12 regular season matches to capture its highest finish in the Big 12 standings in four years. The Wildcats also reached the NCAA Tournament for the second straight year.
Fritz is a two-time winner of the Big 12 Coach of the Year award, capturing the honor during the 2002 and 2003 seasons. The 2003 campaign was the best in program history as the Wildcats set a school record for wins (30) and were a perfect 16-0 at home en route to winning the Big 12 title.
Fritz was originally named the head coach during the 2001 season after earning the interim head coach title prior to the start of that campaign. She served as an assistant coach with the program from 1997-2000, helping the team reach four NCAA Tournaments. Fritz has served as a coach for 15 of K-State’s 16 NCAA Tournament appearances.
Next year’s team will return 14 letterwinners, including two-time All-America Honorable Mention Brand alongside fellow seniors Kober, Katie Reininger and Brooke Sassin. Other key returnees include 2014 Big 12 Freshman of the Year Kylee Zumach, 2015 All-Big 12 Freshman Team selections Macy Flowers and Alyssa Schultejans, and rising junior Bryna Vogel, who finished third on the team in kills and digs last season.