Now he will get a chance to see how it translates into being a head baseball coach. The former Milligan College standout and Elizabethton assistant was chosen Tuesday as the new head coach at Morristown West.
“I'm extremely grateful,” said Fritz. “It's a dream come true. I always wanted to be a head coach, and I'm really excited about the opportunity and the challenge. And I'm ready to get started. It's an opportunity to coach at the highest level of high school baseball in Tennessee.”
Fritz played for legendary coach Mike Ritz at Dobyns-Bennett. He was recruited to Milligan by Bernie Young, who coached Science Hill to a Class AAA state title. He also played under Elizabethton Twins manager Ray Smith, both at Milligan and with the Twins.
Included among the college coaches Fritz has worked under are Vanderbilt's Tim Corbin, Duke's Chris Pollard, Carson-Newman's Tom Griffin, ETSU volunteer assistant Chris Gordon, and Austin Peay pitching coach Joel Mangrum. Fritz also has been mentored by University of Georgia pitching coach Fred Corral. And Fritz coached in the Alaska Baseball League.
Building that resume was something Fritz did intentionally to market himself for a head coaching opportunity.
“It's something I stole from what Coach Corbin told me,” said Fritz. “He said a resume is more than a piece of paper. It's a body of work. It's connections and relationships, and it helps build a product you're trying to bring every day. I definitely think those connections helped me out.”
Fritz, 28, was one of three brothers who was a starting pitcher for Dobyns-Bennett. He went on to play collegiately at Mars Hill and Milligan, and later signed with the Minnesota Twins organization. He pitched one year with Elizabethton in the Appalachian League before being released in Spring Training the following year.
Over the last four years, Fritz has been an assistant coach with the Cyclones. He helped them reach the Class AA state tournament for the first time ever last year. The team went two and out with one loss coming against eventual state champion Pigeon Forge.
Fritz said he was very thankful for his time at Elizabethton.
“Coach (Joe) Nix turned a lot over to me and let me grow,” said Fritz. “And I would like to thank the administration, Mr. (Ed) Alexander, and athletic director (Mike) Wilson, and the kids.”
Telling the players was a difficult thing, said Fritz.
“That was a knife in the heart, telling those guys today,” Fritz said.
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