View Full Version : Lake Forest Head Coach Tony Fritz retires after 32 years.

Matthew Webb
06-15-2010, 12:51 PM

Head Coach Tony Fritz Retires after 32 Seasons at Lake Forest
Assistant Coach Seamus Gregory will direct the team in 2010-11

LAKE FOREST, Ill. - Lake Forest College men’s hockey coach Tony Fritz announced his retirement on Tuesday (June 15) after 32 years at the helm of the program. Athletic Director Jackie Slaats has promoted assistant coach Seamus Gregory to interim head coach, beginning July 1, with a national search for Fritz's permanent replacement to follow the 2010-11 season.

Fritz joined the Lake Forest College Athletic Department in 1978 as head coach of the hockey and soccer programs. His 351 career victories on the ice rank among the top 50 in NCAA history (all divisions) and he is also the most successful soccer coach in school history with 145 victories and eight conference titles in 16 seasons (1978-93). His 496 wins in the two sports combined are the most by any coach in Lake Forest College history.

Under Fritz' direction, the Forester hockey program joined the American Collegiate Hockey Association in 1985 and claimed the ACHA title in the second and final year of the league's existence. Lake Forest posted an 18-6-2 record in 1990-91 and earned a bid to that year's NCAA Tournament. He led the team into the Northern Collegiate Hockey Association in 1992 and reached the semifinals of the NCHA Peters Cup Playoffs three straight seasons from 2004-06. The team was ranked as high as #4 in the country during that span and finished 2003-04 at #8. Fritz was named NCHA Coach of the Year at the end of that season. The 2009-10 season was the program's first as a member of the Midwest Collegiate Hockey Association and the Foresters once again advanced to the semifinals of the league's postseason tournament (Harris Cup Four).

Fritz was a 2006 inductee into the Illinois Hockey Hall of Fame as a builder and was inducted into the Forester Athletic Hall of Fame in 2007 for his coaching accomplishments. He is also featured as a visionary in a book on display in the Hockey Hall of Fame in Toronto, Ontario. Prior to his coaching career, Fritz was a member of the Toronto Maple Leafs organization as a player in the Ontario Junior Hockey Association. He was considered to be one of the top five NHL prospects in Canada before an eye injury during the Memorial Cup Playoffs ended his career.

"I am very excited to move on to the next phase of my life," commented Fritz. "I look forward to spending more time with my wife (Pat), children (Curtis and Charlene), and grandchildren (Griffin, Owen, and Lily). I also plan on enjoying Forester hockey from the bleachers instead of behind the bench. I am confident Seamus will do a great job and I will continue to support him and the players in any way I can."

"I want to thank Coach Fritz for all he has done for Lake Forest College," began Slaats. "He has represented the institution extremely well and has had a positive influence on many people, including me, the players he has coached, as well as his colleagues in our department and in the sport of hockey. He will be missed tremendously.

"I also welcome Coach Gregory to our full-time staff and a more prominent role in the department this year. He has done a great deal for the hockey team as an assistant coach and I am confident he will continue to improve the program."

Gregory has served as Fritz's assistant coach as well as the Foresters' head junior varsity coach and recruiting and video coordinator the last two seasons. He spent the previous five years as the associate head coach of the St. Mary’s High School (Lynn, Massachusetts) boys varsity hockey team. St. Mary’s competes in the Division I Catholic Central League, one of the premier leagues in the state.

Gregory graduated from St. Thomas University in Fredericton, New Brunswick, in 2003. Primarily a right wing, he is an alumnus of the St. John’s Junior Hockey League, New Brunswick Junior Hockey League, and Maritime Junior Hockey League.

"I am grateful to the administration here at the College for showing confidence in me and giving me the opportunity to lead this team," commented Gregory. "Working with Tony the last two seasons has been enjoyable, educational, and rewarding. I believe we have the program headed in the right direction and I look forward to leading it along that path."

06-15-2010, 12:51 PM
Oh, and congrats to Coach Fritz. You've laid a nice foundation to start in the MCHA with last year's freshman class.

So was this the big news?

06-15-2010, 12:52 PM
So is this the big news?


Congratulations on a long career, coach Fritz. Always a class act.

Matthew Webb
06-15-2010, 12:54 PM
So was this the big news?


Toe Blake's Brother
06-15-2010, 02:03 PM
Congratulations Coach Fritz on your retirement and the class that you and the LF staff and teams have always demonstrated on and off the ice. Congrats!

06-15-2010, 02:43 PM

I tried to find a great article/story Matthew Webb wrote on Coach Fritz in one of his columns a year or so ago, so it could be shared again here. Unfortunately my skills at searching thru the archives are lacking, but if someone can put the link up I think it it would be appropriate.

06-15-2010, 03:01 PM
I tried to find a great article/story Matthew Webb wrote on Coach Fritz in one of his columns a year or so ago, so it could be shared again here. Unfortunately my skills at searching thru the archives are lacking, but if someone can put the link up I think it it would be appropriate.

Maybe this one (http://www.uscho.com/news/college-hockey/id,16058/ThisWeekintheNCHAMCHA.html)?


Fritz is now in his 45th year (as of Nov. 14, 2008) of coaching and his 31st at Lake Forest. This season also marks the 16th — and final — season in the NCHA for the Foresters as next year they move to the MCHA.

Looking back on his time in the NCHA, Fritz did point to some rather memorable moments.

“The night I got my 300th victory,” he said.

Interestingly enough, however, that’s not the reason he finds it memorable.

“The thing is that even though it was a milestone game, it was an important game,” Fritz remembered. “It was the game we beat Stevens Point (http://www.collegehockeystats.net/0304/boxes/mlkfwsp1.j31) and clinched home ice for the playoffs which we hadn’t done in a long time. It was a game of significance and it was just a really joyful game.”

Another he points to is a 2006 road win over St. Norbert (http://www.collegehockeystats.net/0506/boxes/mlkfsnb1.f11).

“To see the joy on the player’s faces when they realized they had the game won was just�a real thrill.”

And finally, true to form, the success of others around the league has been a notable achievement to Fritz.

“It’s been amazing to see the strength of the league every year. Most years two of our teams are in the top five or six at the end of the season. It’s pretty amazing when you see how many championships have come out of here. It’s been fun to be part of something that prestigious and that successful.”

+1 (http://board.uscho.com/showpost.php?p=2964424&postcount=4)
+2 (http://board.uscho.com/showpost.php?p=3570051&postcount=92)

06-15-2010, 05:22 PM
Congrats Coach Fritz. Enjoy your retirement.

06-15-2010, 07:33 PM
The definition of class act. What he did for the school in multiple sports and beyond is impressive. He's one of those guys you'd have a conversation with and you would just want to hear stories throughout his hockey career. Congrats Coach Fritz. A retirement well deserved.

Matthew Webb
06-15-2010, 11:08 PM

Matthew Webb
06-15-2010, 11:22 PM
Unfortunately I was busy today and didn't have time to post more than I have to this point, but finally, I'd like to say that Coach Fritz will be sorely missed.

It's not too often you run into someone as likeable and affable as he is and in which it's beyond obvious it's not an act. It's the real him and it's beyond refreshing to see. He's one of the rare individuals that is postive and uplifting even he's being somewhat critical of something, if that makes sense.

It's been an honor to have the privelege to interact with him as I've cheered against, for, and then covered the Foresters for the past 13 years.

I think the most important thing to keep in mind when it comes to Coach Fritz is not his wins at the high school level nor at the college level, because though they certainly mark that of a distinguished coaching career they pale in comparison to the lives he's affected.

Rather, I think ballgame's post that norm linked to says it all in such a beautifully simple way. It's the same post I referenced in a roundabout way in that column and it's merely one example of how he has influenced so many young men for the better, and ultimately that's what is truly important.

That column closed with a quote from St. Norbert head coach Tim Coghlin, and trust me...he wasn't saying that to be nice. How do I know this? Easy. It's because if I ever have a son and he plays hockey I'd want him to play for a man like Tony Fritz, too.

So while he will be sorely missed, all good things must come to an end. You've earned a long and happy retirement, Coach. Enjoy it.

06-16-2010, 11:30 AM
You'll never find a classier individual than Tony Fritz. In most sports and hockey in particular you find out a lot about a program and a coach when they are undermanned and getting beaten badly. Particularly over the last few seasons I witnessed some pretty uneven battles between SNC and Lake Forest, but the Foresters ALWAYS played the game right and never took it to it's lowest form and got wreckless trying to see if they could keep it interesting. The timing is unfortunate in that I think they are in a better position to compete going forward than they were in the last few years in the NCHA, but if this is what's best for Coach Fritz then he certainly earned this right with the way he's represented his institution for more than 3 decades.

06-16-2010, 11:32 AM
You know, I wish I would have talked to Coach Fritz for a few moments at the MCHA banquet this past spring.