Mike Fritch Sr. nominated for National Coach of the Year honors. Raiders roll over Wilby, 61-29.
TORRINGTON: Mike Fritch had to deal with some issues on Friday night.
Not on the court where his Raiders rolled by Wilby by a 61-29, final but one’s that affected him personally.
Three to be exact.
First, he had a bloody nose. Thanks to a world class trainer in Sarah Brewer, that problem was solved.
Second, he spilled pizza sauce on his game tie. Sorry coach, Sarah couldn’t help you with that one.
Third, and by far the best item that needed attention was talking about a very prestigious award he is up for with national implications.
Last week, Fritch found out that he is one of eight finalists for National Coach of the Year and will be in Illinois in June to find out if he gets to bring the top prize back to Torrington.
The award is presented by the National High School Athletic Coaches Association and Fritch will travel to East Peoria, Illinois on June 21, 2017 to be part of what should be a special night.
Fritch was nominated by the Connecticut High School Coaches Association for his years of service to the young men and ladies he has coached over his nearly four-decade career.
“I am honored,” Fritch said. “I didn’t really think I had a shot at it when I was nominated by the state board and was very surprised when I got the email last week. I don’t think it terms of awards because that’s not why we do things. We do this for the kids.”
Torrington athletic director Michael McKenna, a staple at the high school who considers Fritch one of those coaches he is privileged to have on the staff, commented in his press release on Thursday.
“Being selected as a finalist is a great honor,” McKenna said. “It’s a reward for Coach Fritch who has spent almost 40 years working with the athletes of Torrington High School as boys’ soccer, softball and girls’ basketball coach. Mike has received State Coach of the Year honors for both soccer and basketball as well as being inducted into the Connecticut High School Coaches Association Hall of Fame.”
It’s always been a family affair for the Fritch family at THS. On Friday night, his daughter Erika Pratt sat on the bench next to him while Michael Jr kept the book at the press table with any number of grandchildren roaming in and out of time-outs or around the bench area.
Fritch Jr. took over for his father as head coach of the boys’ soccer team and Erika is the current junior varsity coach. Everybody, Erika, Michael and Chris, played at one time or another for their father.
Torrington has always sported successful teams in the sports that Fritch has overseen.
This year’s girls improved to 9-3 with a bounce back win over the visitors from Waterbury behind 16 points from senior Brie Pergola who is closing in on 1000 points for her career as a Raider.
What is the head coaches biggest reward at this point, as he approaches perhaps the end of the line in his outstanding career?
“It comes when the kids come back,” Fritch said. “When I see what they have made of themselves. When I see what kind of impact I might have had on them.”
An avid bike rider who loves riding along the beaches in San Diego, California whenever he can, Fritch still has the coaching bug, for now.
To watch his smile as he watched his kids, both on and off the court, you can tell he’s still enjoying the moment.
Congratulations coach and best of luck in June.
Meanwhile, get that tie to the dry cleaner….