June 19, 2013
MANHATTAN, Kan. – Kansas State assistant track and field coach Steve Fritz is headed to the high school ranks as he was announced this week as the new boys head basketball coach at Riley County High School. Fritz is replacing long-time Riley County coach Kelly Hammel, who retired in March after a total of 348 wins in 26 seasons there.
The former two-sport star at K-State has served as an assistant coach at his alma mater for track and field for 21 years and has coached 13 student-athletes to a total of 26 conference championships in throwing events. His most recent success was freshman Sara Savatovic in the hammer throw at this season’s Big 12 Outdoor Championships in Waco, Texas. Savatovic won the competition with a throw of 64.11 meters (210-04) in setting a new Serbian national record.
Fritz said he is excited about the new challenge of coaching boys high school basketball and to get back into another sport he loves while also knowing he is leaving behind a long history at K-State.
“I am really excited. The new challenges, getting back into basketball and getting to be around my family more, those are all exciting things,” Fritz said. “Also, there is a degree of sadness because I have pretty much spent my entire adult life at K-State. Not being around the kids on the team that are returning next year and not being at the university every day, those are sad things. But, I’m excited and I think it’s going to be a lot of fun.”
Fritz competed for the Wildcats from 1988-90 in both track and field and basketball. He was a two-time All-American in the decathlon with his best finish coming in 1990 in fourth place with 7,729 points. He holds the Big Eight Conference record with 7,924 points in the decathlon, winning the championship in 1989 and 1990.
As a member of Team USA at the 1996 Atlanta Olympics, Fritz finished in fourth place in the decathlon with his total of 8,644 points. He won the 1997 USA Championship in the decathlon with a score of 8,604 points.
K-State Director of Track and Field and Cross Country Cliff Rovelto said Fritz will be missed on the staff and he has been an important part of not only K-State track but K-State athletics for quite some time.
“Steve’s first year at K-State as an athlete was my first year as an assistant coach. Through 1997, Steve trained and competed at the highest levels of college and then professionally,” Rovelto said. “In this day and age it is rare that you find three coaches who have worked together for 20-plus years as Steve, coach Michael Smith and myself have. It has been a special run and we wish Steve all the best in the next chapter of his professional life. I know he is excited about getting back into basketball. We appreciate his contributions to our program over the past 20-plus years as an athlete and a coach in our program.”