Steve Fritz became St. Thomas’ all-time winningest basketball coach on Saturday when his men’s team defeated host St. Olaf 70-59.
Fritz is 418-209, passing Tom Feely for the record, and has 10 MIAC championships and no losing seasons in his tenure. He’s an 11-time MIAC Coach of the Year and a three-time NCAA West Region Coach of the Year. He has guided the Tommies to six NCAA playoff berths and MIAC playoff berths in 15 of the last 16 seasons.
Fritz ranks third all-time among MIAC men’s basketball coaching victories. St. John’s Jim Smith (624 wins in 41 seasons) and Hamline legend Joe Hutton (588 wins in 35 years) rank 1-2, and Feely is fourth at 417-269 in 26 seasons. St. Thomas is among a select group of Division III institutions to have two 400-win basketball coaches.
The two – Fritz played for Feely from 1967 to 1971 – will be among the honored guests Feb. 7 when St. Thomas celebrates its 100th season of varsity basketball. The Tommies play nationally ranked Gustavus at 3 p.m. A 5 p.m. reception will be followed by a 6:30 p.m. dinner. Former WCCO broadcasting legend Ray Christensen will be the emcee, with former Tommie head coaches Feely and Johnny Kundla (1946-47) the featured guests.
The Tommies won Saturday’s game against St. Olaf with a late 14-2 run to take control. They lost 76-72 Monday night to Bethel – their sixth loss of the season decided in the final minute.
The Toms won back-to-back MIAC championships in 2001-02 and 2002-03, but lost their top six players from last season, including five to graduation.
A reception to
Steve Fritz’ record
will be held from
9 to 10 a.m.
Thursday, Jan. 22,
in the open lounge
area on first floor,
Everyone is invited