ATLANTA (Dec. 31, 2022) – Officials from the Bobby Dodd Coach of the Year Foundation and Peach Bowl, Inc. today announced that Tulane head coach Willie Fritz has been named the winner of the 2022 Dodd Trophy presented by PNC.
The Dodd Trophy, college football’s most coveted coaching award, honors the head football coach whose program embodies the award’s three pillars of scholarship, leadership and integrity, while also having success on the playing field throughout the season. Winners of the award from the previous two years and first-year coaches at an institution are not eligible to win the award.
Fritz led the Green Wave to the program’s first American Athletic Conference (AAC) title and its first appearance in a major bowl game since the 1939 season. His four bowl game appearances in the last five years are the most among any coach in Tulane history. Finishing the regular season with an 11-2 record, Fritz was named the AAC Coach of the Year, another first for the program. 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. The nine-game win total improvement over last year is also tied for the best-ever in a single season in FBS history.
“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 exceled off the field under Fritz as well. 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.
“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.”
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. Coach Fritz was selected as this year’s recipient by the Bobby Dodd Coach of the Year Foundation.