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A 'Golden' opportunity
Release: 04/27/2012
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From time to time, Sam Houston State head coach Willie Fritz has to ask his players to trust him and take a leap of faith that it will all work out in the end. On Tuesday, Fritz took a leap of his own.

With the help of Lt. Col. David Yebra of the Sam Houston State department of military science (ROTC), along with a group of others from SHSU, Fritz got the rare opportunity to sky dive with the Golden Knights, the United States Army Parachute team (video at bottom of story). 

“I was asked if I was interested in doing something like this by Lt. Col. Yebra and of course I said yes to the opportunity to jump with the best skydiving group in the world,” Fritz said. “It is a once in a lifetime opportunity.”

One of the best aspects of Fritz’s coaching style is his ability to lead by example. And while no players were there to watch it, he felt like it was important for his team for him to make this kind of jump.

“One of the things I talk to our players about is challenging themselves and experiencing new things,” Fritz said. “Sometimes as a leader, as a player, as a coach, you have to do things you are uncomfortable with and learn from it.”

While admittedly nervous, Fritz said he knew he was in safe hands. It was a tandem jump and the person he was diving with had more than 3,200 jumps under his belt, including one with Karl Malone.   

“It was definitely a rush, no doubt about it. I just suggest anyone who has a chance, to go up and do it,” Fritz said. “There is no safer group than the Golden Knights.”

Fritz showed the video of the jump in a team meeting on Wednesday to let the players get a feel for his experience.

“I told the guys I had made a deal for the Golden Knights to come up here and have the team jump,” he laughed. “I couldn’t keep the joke going very long. There were some nervous faces in the room.”

After a 14-1 season last year that ended with a loss in the FCS national championship game in Frisco, the Bearkats just put the wraps on spring camp. While the talk going into next season is about the Bearkats talented running game, Fritz may have proved they have a pretty formidable aerial attack as well.

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