Fritz enters her 13th season as the head coach of the K-State women's volleyball team and has established herself as one of the most successful coaches in not just K-State history, but also the nation. Fritz has led the Wildcats to nine NCAA Tournament appearances, the school's first conference title in 2003, and three NCAA Regional Semifinal appearances. Since her first season at the helm in 2001, Fritz is the winningest coach in K-State history, compiling a 238-136 (.636) mark in 12 years. In 16 seasons total on staff, including four as an assistant coach from 1997-2000, Fritz has seen 11 All-Americans, 16 All-District performers and 40 all-conference players come play as Wildcats.
The last two seasons have seen tremendous success for Fritz and the K-State volleyball program. The Wildcats have advanced to the NCAA Tournament in each of the last two years, which are the eighth and ninth tournament appearances under Fritz. K-State has been led by current senior outside hitter Kaitlynn Pelger. The Olathe, Kansas native earned AVCA All-America honorable mention in 2011 and 2012 as well as being named to the 2011 Volleyball Magazine All-America third-team, becoming the 10th All-American in program history and sixth with Fritz leading the team.
In 2012, K-State advanced to the NCAA Tournament after compiling a 21-8 regular season record. The season started off hot with K-State opening the year 12-0 and defeating No. 20 Dayton and No. 10 Minnesota at the Golden Hurricane Classic hosted by Tulsa. K-State added another win over a ranked opponent when they defeated No. 22 Iowa State. During nonconference play, the Wildcats were dominant, winning 11 matches by a score of 3-0. The Wildcats even broke the school record for consecutive sets won when they captured 23 straight sets. The streak started with the fourth set against Oregon State on August 25 and lasted eight matches until K-State dropped the first set in the win against Minnesota on September 14.
The 2012 campaign followed up a 2011 season in which the Wildcats, under the leadership of Fritz and All-Big 12 performances of Pelger and Lilla Porubek, reached the NCAA Tournament Regional Semifinals. K-State defeated its former Big 12 rival Nebraska in the second round to advance to the Regional Semifinals, its third semifinal appearance under Fritz's direction. The victory was the first time the Huskers had lost an NCAA Tournament match at home in the first two rounds of the tournament. It also ended a 16-year streak for the Cornhuskers in which they reached the Regional Semifinals.
While the last two years have been great on and off the court for the Wildcats, the K-State reign of success extends all the way back to Fritz's first season at the helm back in 2001. In her inaugural season as the K-State head coach, Fritz led the Wildcats to the second round of the NCAA Tournament and a 20-8 record. It was the highest winning percentage in school history (.714) by a first-year coach.
In 2001, Liz Wegner became the first player in Kansas State history to be named an All-American team twice in her career, as she was named an honorable mention All-American by Volleyball Magazine. Wegner joined fellow senior Lisa Mimick on the 2001 All-Big 12 first team.
Following her debut season, Fritz took the team again to the NCAA Tournament in 2002, a streak of post-season tournament appearances that would five straight for the Wildcats under Fritz's leadership.
Three Wildcats were named first team All-Big 12 in 2002, marking the fifth year in a row - all under Fritz's tenure - that the program placed two players on the league's first team. The 2002 squad gained valuable experience with a number of players returning the next year for the most successful season in school history.
Fritz led the Wildcats to their first conference championship in school history in 2003, which was just her third year as head coach. K-State posted a 30-5 record and was a perfect 18-0 at home in Ahearn Field House. After losing the first two matches of the season, the Wildcats went on winning streaks of 12 and 16 matches en route to the conference title. Kansas State took both matches from conference power Nebraska, including just the program's second win on the road against the Cornhuskers.
Lauren Goehring and Gabby Guerre were both named All-Americans for their contributions during the 2003 season with Goehring earning first team honors and Guerre receiving an honorable mention. Goehring was also the school's first conference player of the year. The Wildcats had three players on the All-Big 12 first team with an additional two as honorable mentions.
The direction of the program continued rising in Fritz's fourth year with another trip to the NCAA Tournament in 2004 and reached 20 wins once again. The Wildcats finished with a 20-11 record and advanced to the second round of the NCAA Tournament before falling to national powerhouse, the University of Southern California.
In 2005, the team reached 20 wins for the seventh consecutive season, going 21-11, and advanced to the second round of the NCAA Tournament for the eighth consecutive season. K-State opened the campaign with the second 8-0 start in school history and first since the 1998 season. The Wildcats broke single-season school records for team total blocks (354.5) and team block assists (621). The squad was also successful in the classroom as K-State put eight Wildcats on the first and second teams of the Academic All-Big 12 teams.
The dominance at the net by the Wildcats would become a trend under Fritz's leadership. After setting the blocks record in 2005, K-State would post the second-best total blocks mark the following season and raise the bar again in 2007. The top five team performances for total block assists have all come within the last nine years.
The Wildcats have averaged a fourth-place finish in the powerful Big 12 under Fritz, but in the off-year of 2006, the team finished 10th. Not counting that season, the Wildcats are one of the top three programs in the conference over that time span.
Fritz coached her fifth All-American as a head coach when Nataly Korobkova received third team honors from AVCA in 2007 and 2008. Korobkova stormed onto the scene with 498 kills in her first year as a Wildcat. She earned Big 12 Newcomer of the Year to go with her first team All-Big 12 selection and was named first team AVCA All-Region VI. She repeated her achievement as a third team All-America selection again in 2008 to become the school's second two-time All-American.
Korobkova and the Wildcats reached the second round of the NCAA Tournament - the sixth tournament appearance by the Wildcats in Fritz's first seven seasons. Three other players received recognition from the conference coaches along with Korobkova. Angie Lastra was named Libero of the Year and honorable mention All-Big 12 along with Stacey Spiegelberg and Megan Farr.
In 2008, the team reached the NCAA Tournament and had three players earn All-Big 12 honors.
Success for the Wildcats has come more than just on the court under Fritz as she and her players have taken the term student-athlete to heart. The Wildcats have established themselves as one of the top performing teams in the classroom in the nation. In 2008, K-State led the conference in first team Academic All-Big 12 honorees for the fourth consecutive year. The team also earned its seventh straight AVCA Team Academic Award in 2007 to receive the recognition in each of the first seven years under Fritz. K-State earned the honor once again in 2012-13, marking the 10th time in the last 12 years that the Wildcats have earned the award. The award is given to teams maintaining a cumulative 3.30 GPA or higher on a 4.0 scale. It was one of the longest streaks in the nation for receiving the prestigious academic award.
K-State has tallied 79 Academic All-Big 12 selections and 16 Academic All-District student-athletes during Fritz's tenure to go with the 10 AVCA Team Academic Awards. JuliAnne Chisholm also earned back0t-back Academic All-America status in 2009 and 2010.
Along with academic awards and 10 All-American performances on the court, 11 players have been selected as All-District a total of 16 times. With Fritz on the coaching staff, K-State has earned 41 All-Big 12 nods and 34 Big 12 Players of the Week.
Fritz began her head coaching career at K-State as an interim head coach after Jim McLaughlin left the program shortly before the start of the 2001 season. After a 9-5 start in her first year, Fritz was named the program's permanent head coach. She took the reins from McLaughlin after serving as his top assistant for four years.
As an assistant coach for the Wildcats, Fritz was one of the chief architects of Kansas State's success from 1997-2000. She helped guide the program to five consecutive NCAA Tournaments, including its first appearance in the round of 16 of the tournament in 2000. In that span, the Wildcats posted a 103-52 (.665) overall record, including a 75-36 (.676) mark in Big 12 play. The program recorded four straight final AVCA/USA Today Top 25 finishes, including a then-program-best 16th ranking to conclude the 2000 season.
The team developed into a force in one of the nation's toughest conferences, finishing in the top five each year. The Wildcats had a then school-record second place finish in 2000 with a 14-6 record. As the head coach, Fritz would best that conference mark with a 16-4 record in 2002 and better it yet at 18-2 in the title year of 2003.
While an assistant at K-State, she helped produce two All-Americans - including the program's first in Dawn Cady in 1999 - along with three all-district selections, 11 All-Big 12 honorees, and 22 Academic All-Big 12 picks.
Prior to coming to Kansas State in 1997, Fritz spent two years as an assistant coach at NJCAA power Barton County Community College in Great Bend, Kansas. During her stay with Barton County, she helped guide the Cougars to a 111-14 (.888) overall record and a pair of top five finishes at the NJCAA National Tournament. She helped coach two first team All-Americans, two NJCAA All-Tournament picks, seven Region VI honorees, and five Academic All-Americans.
Fritz also played two years at Barton County from 1990-91, helping lead the Cougars to a 107-10 (.915) overall record and back-to-back final four finishes at the NCJAA Tournament as the team's starting setter. During her sophomore campaign, she was named the school's Most Valuable Player and to the All-Tournament team at the NCJAA Tournament. She was also named to the Volleyball Academic All-American team. She ranked ninth in school history in single-season assists with 1,219 set in 1991.
After two years at Barton, Fritz transferred to Northeast Louisiana (now Louisiana-Monroe) for her junior season before transferring to Florida Atlantic for her senior campaign, finishing her playing career in 1994. She was named the Florida Atlantic's Most Inspirational Player and was an All-Tournament selection.
Upon earning a bachelor's degree in exercise science and wellness education from Florida Atlantic in 1994, she spent a year as an assistant coach at her alma mater before returning to coach at Barton County in 1995. During her one-year stint at FAU, Fritz helped the Owls to a 6-21 overall record in just her first season at NCAA Division I.
Fritz earned a master's degree in educational administration and leadership from Kansas State in August of 2002.
Fritz has also served as a coach for the USA Women's Volleyball program. She was appointed to a coaching role with the A2 team in 2006, and in 2009, she was named the A2 head coach, taking the team to a third-place finish at the USA Adult Open Volleyball Championship. In 2013, Fritz and the K-State Wildcats represented the United States at the World University Games in Kazan, Russia.
She also served as the keynote speaker at the AVCA National Convention in 2008, presenting on various aspects of the game.
Fritz is not the first coach in her family. Steve, her husband, was an assistant coach for K-State track and field for 21 years and is now the head boys basketball coach at Riley County High School. Her parents and both brothers have served in some coaching capacity as well. Suzie's father, Larry Wiemers, spent more than 25 years as head football coach at Clay Center High School. Her brother Dave coaches football at Pittsburg State, and brother Jon at William Penn University. Suzie's mother, Sandi, has been involved in baton twirling for years and has held positions in her national and world organizations.
A native of Clay Center, Kansas, the former Suzie Wiemers, was married to Steve Fritz on June 17, 2000. Steve Fritz, a member of the Kansas State Sports Hall of Fame, was a decathlete who placed fourth in the 1996 Atlanta Olympic Games. The couple has two children, Thomas Jon (T.J.) and Jake.