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Fritsche steps down as St. Croix Central girls basketball coach

St. Croix Central girls basketball coach Luke Fritsche is shown in a huddle with his team this winter. Submitted photo

For nine years, Luke Fritsche has poured his heart and soul into the St. Croix Central girls basketball program.

Now he wants to put that energy toward his family. Fritsche announced last week that he is resigning as the Panthers' varsity coach after nine seasons. The team went 112-100 in his tenure as coach.

Fritsche and his wife have two sons, the youngest who turns 1-year-old this month.

"I have to make my family the top priority," Fritsche said, saying that spending 20 minutes a night with his new son after practices wasn't sufficient time for either of them.

Fritsche goes out on top, with the Panthers just completing one of the best seasons in program history. The Panthers finished 21-3 and they captured the first conference championship in Fritsche's nine seasons. After a couple lean years, the Panthers have increased their win total in each of the past six seasons. The Panthers had winning records in six of Fritsche's nine seasons.

Fritsche said he considered resigning a year ago. After discussions with his family, he decided to coach again this winter.

"It truly is a 365-day job," Fritsche said of coaching a varsity basketball team. "I don't know how to coach where it's not an all-in, 365-day commitment."

Fritsche said he will continue coaching in the Central girls golf program. He said he's open to the possibility of coaching youth sports as his sons grow older. Fritsche said he viewed the opportunity to coach at the varsity level as a privilege.

"Working with some of the most elite level athletes in your school is an amazing feeling," he said.

Dave Newman

Dave Newman has been the sports editor at the New Richmond News since 1988. He has covered the action in the Middle Border Conference, Dunn-St. Croix Conference and Big Rivers Conference for more than 30 years.

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