Sam Houston State head football coach Willie Fritz has been named as NCAA Division I Football Championship Subdivision Coach of the Year for 2011 by American Football Monthly, the nation's leading publication for football coaches.

Fritz led the Bearkats to an undefeated 14-0 season, their first undisputed Southland Confrence title and a place in the NCAA Division I Football Championship game that will take place on January 7 in Frisco.

Fritz's two-year record is now 20-5 and 2011 marks the first time the Bearkats have been in the FCS playoffs in seven seasons. SHSU averaged 39.1 points per game this fall and gave only 14.8 per game. The Kats also have a16-game winning streak, the longest current streak among all FCS teams.

Fritz has developed a reputation for turning programs around. While head coach at Blinn College, Fritz led a team that had been 5-24-1 the previous three seasons to a 39-5-1 record the next three seasons and two national junior college championships. He did the same at Central Missouri, compiling a 97-47 record in 13 years and becoming the winningest coach in UCM history.

"It's always exciting to receive an honor such as this one," said Fritz. "This is an award for our entire team and staff. Much of the credit for our success this year has to go to our assistant coaches. Last season we were 6-5. At the beginning of the year, we challenged our players to become a great team and that's exactly what they did. We're excited about playing in the National Championship on January 7th."

Additional AFM College Coaches of the Year for 2011 include -
FBS - Mike Gundy, Oklahoma State
Division II - John Wristen, Colorado State-Pueblo
Division III - Glenn Caruso, University of St. Thomas
NAIA - Ted Karras Jr., Marian University
NJCAA - Buddy Stephens, East Mississippi Community College

American Football Monthly has been selecting both college and high school coaches of the year since the publication began in 1995. Last fall, Beau Baldwin of Eastern Washington was selected as the FBS Coach of the Year.

For more than 18 years, AFM has helped college and high school coaches be more successful on and off the field by giving them the best offensive and defensive strategies, plays and drills - most of which were provided by their coaching peers.