Willie Fritz wins 2022 Dodd Trophy as nation's coach of the year – crescentcitysports.com

Atlanta – Tulane University head football coach Willie Fritz was named the winner of the 2022 Dodd Trophy presented by PNC on Saturday, by the Bobby Dodd Coach of the Year Foundation and the Peach Bowl Committee at halftime of the Peach Bowl.
Five of the nation’s top head coaches (Willie Fritz, Jim Harbaugh, Chris Klieman, Kirby Smart and Kyle Whittingham) were named finalists for this year’s award by a panel consisting of all previous winners, national media, a member of the Dodd family and a College Football Hall of Fame member.
“This award is a testament to all of the hard work put in by our student athletes, coaches and staff here at Tulane University,” said Green Wave head coach Willie Fritz. “Coach Dodd championed scholarship, leadership and integrity, and those are among the qualities that have become part of the fabric of our program as well. It is with that knowledge that I accept this tremendous honor.”
Tulane has excelled both on and off the field under Fritz. In the classroom, Fritz’s student-athletes were recognized for their efforts, with 46 players receiving Academic All-AAC honors for the 2021-22 academic year. The group also had an impressive 987 Academic Progress Rate (APR), which tied for the 24th highest mark in the FBS and held a Graduation Success Rate of 87. Tulane offensive linemen Prince Pines and Kanan Ray, along with quarterback Michael Pratt and linebacker Nick Anderson, were all selected to the College Sports Communications 2022 Academic All-District Team as well.
Fritz has had a truly historic and magical 2022 season. He defeated then No. 22 CFP ranked UCF on Dec. 3 by a 45-28 score to capture the school’s first-ever American Athletic Conference (AAC) title and earn Tulane its first appearance in a major bowl game since 1940 with the trip to Arlington, Texas to play in the 87th Goodyear Cotton Bowl Classic against USC on Jan. 2. The school’s last appearance in a major bowl game was the Sugar Bowl. The win over UCF was his second straight win over a fellow ranked opponent.
Overall, this year will be the school’s 15th bowl appearance and the fourth time in the last five years that Fritz has led the program to a bowl game. The four bowl appearances under his watch make him the most successful in school history by that metric. Individually he moved into second all-time at Tulane this season in career victories and is up to 42 in his Green Wave career. His program had both the Most Outstanding Offensive Player (Michael Pratt) and the Most Outstanding Defensive Player (Nick Anderson) of the AAC Championship game. He also set a school-record and had the most All-AAC selections in the conference this season this season with 15 plus the league’s Offensive Player of the Year (Tyjae Spears).
Fritz was named the 2022 AAC Coach of the Year for the first time in his career at the end of the regular season. It is also the first time that a Tulane coach ever been named the AAC Coach of the Year and only the second time overall that a Tulane coach has taken home the honor from a conference as Tommy Bowden was named the Conference USA Coach of the Year in 1998. Fritz has led Tulane to an overall 11-2 record including a mark of 7-1 in AAC play. The 11 wins this season is the second time in school history that the program has won 11 or more games and the first time since 1998. His seven wins in league play are the most for the program since 1934 and mark only the second time in the school’s history that a Tulane team has won seven or more conference games in a single campaign. Tulane’s first nationally ranking this year, 10 weeks ago, was a first for the program since 1998.
The program also received its first-ever College Football Playoff Ranking this year and are currently placed 16th nationally in that metric. Tulane’s AAC regular season title earned with the victory over Cincinnati on Nov. 25 was only the third in the history of the program and was the first since the Conference USA Championship title in 1998. Fritz led Tulane to its first win over a fellow ranked opponent since 1956 with the victory over then No. 23 ranked Cincinnati. The win over the Bearcats ended their then 32-game home winning streak.
“Coach Fritz has truly incorporated the three pillars of The Dodd Trophy into everything he has done at Tulane. He has reached new heights on the field and in the classroom this year, making a positive impact on more than just his players, but also the surrounding community as well,” said Jim Terry, chairman of the Bobby Dodd Coach of the Year Foundation. “Coach Dodd would have appreciated someone like Coach Fritz winning this year’s award, for his relentless commitment toward improving and positively impacting the Tulane program and its players.”
In the community, Fritz has dedicated time to giving back and introducing his players to local initiatives and organizations in the New Orleans area. The University was recognized in 2021, as Tulane’s student-athletes combined for 4,500 community service hours, placing them fifth in the NCAA Team Works Community Service Competition that year. In 2019, Fritz provided financial support to the United Way of Southeast Louisiana’s Trauma-Informed Schools Collaborative, which aided two of the collaborative’s schools in the Central City district of New Orleans.
“Coach Fritz has elevated the Tulane program to new heights academically and athletically,” said Gary Stokan, CEO and president of Peach Bowl, Inc. “The Dodd Trophy is the most coveted coach of the year award because it’s about more than just success on the gridiron, and emphasizes the importance of scholarship, leadership and integrity. Coach Fritz embodies everything that coaches should aspire to be and truly earned his selection as this year’s Dodd Trophy recipient.”
Of all the coaches that were candidates this year, Fritz and the Tulane football team had the second-highest 2021 Academic Progress Rate (APR),
“The Dodd Trophy is the sport’s most coveted coach of the year award because it fully takes into account what it means to be a coach, aside from just wins and losses,” said Gary Stokan, Peach Bowl, Inc. CEO & President. “These five finalists not only succeeded on the football field this year, but also in the classroom and throughout their communities. It’s this mindset that sets our award apart, and why we only consider coaches who have been at their current programs long enough to truly establish their own foundation of success, as it relates to academics and community involvement.”
About the Dodd Trophy presented by PNC
The Dodd Trophy presented by PNC was established in 1976 to honor the NCAA Football Bowl Subdivision (formerly Division 1A) head football coach whose program represents the highest ideals on and off the field. The award honors the coach of a team which enjoys a successful football season, while also stressing the importance of academic excellence and character, as did Coach Dodd’s teams during his 22 years as head football coach of the Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets. Coach Dodd remains one of college football’s legendary figures, both as a coach and a player. Coach Dodd was a native of Galax, Virginia, and played his college ball at the University of Tennessee where his team had 27 wins, one loss and two ties during the three years he played. Coach Dodd was selected to the National College Football Hall of Fame both as a coach and as a player. Additional information about the Bobby Dodd Coach of the Year Foundation can be found at www.TheDoddTrophy.com. For news, updates and insider information, follow us on Twitter at @DoddTrophy or find us on Facebook at www.Facebook.com/DoddTrophy.
About Peach Bowl, Inc.
Peach Bowl, Inc. is a 501(c)3 organization that operates the Chick-fil-A Peach Bowl, the Chick-fil-A Kickoff Game, the Peach Bowl Challenge charity golf tournament, and manages The Dodd Trophy national coach of the year award. It is the ninth-oldest bowl game in the country and is recognized as college football’s most charitable bowl organization, having donated $60.9 million to organizations in need since 2002.
Tickets for the 2022 season for the football team’s bowl game, the men’s and women’s basketball team’s games and the upcoming baseball season can be purchased by calling 504-861-WAVE (9283), logging on to TulaneTix.com or visiting the ticket office at the James W. Wilson Jr. Center.
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Tulane University is located in the city of New Orleans. It is a city built on tradition and resiliency. The lessons Green Wave student-athletes have learned through their connection with this university and city have BUILT doctors, lawyers, business leaders, conference champions, all-conference players, All-Americans, professional athletes and NCAA tournament teams. The city of New Orleans has shaped us into who we are today. We are One City. We are Tulane. We are NOLA BUILT. Check out our story at NolaBuilt.com.
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