BENTON — If you’ve ever been to Fairfield High School sporting events, chances are you’ve seen a man walking around wearing a Detroit Tigers baseball hat with the Old English ‘D’ stylized on it.
That’s Tim Fritz, who’s worked at the school for 28 years as a physical education teacher, coach, events supervisor and now-Assistant Athletic Director. Fritz received the promotion to assistant AD last year.
“This last year, with changing the title, I did sit in on some interviews. So, now I’m more official,” Fritz said.
“It was recognition for what he’s been doing,” added Fairfield Athletic Director Mark Hofer on Fritz’s promotion. “The guy’s been doing that role for however many years and it’s recognition of what his role is within our school and the athletic department.”
A Michigan native, Fritz graduated from Grand Valley State in 1992 before moving to Millersburg with his then-fiancé. Fritz thought he would be stepping right into a teaching job, but the teacher he was expected to replace didn’t resign. This left Fritz as a substitute teacher for the time being.
Fortunately for Fritz, another job at Fairfield opened up a month into the school year. He accepted the position and has been a physical education teacher at the school ever since.
Throughout the years, Fritz has spent time coaching at Fairfield as well. He’s been the junior high football, girls varsity basketball and both JV and varsity baseball head coach at various points during his tenure.
As assistant AD, Fritz wears many hats. With Fairfield being a Jr.-Sr. High School building, Fritz takes care of a lot of the lower-level sporting events at the school.
“I do a lot with the junior high; I’m running a lot of the junior high events so Mr. Hofer can go home to his family,” Fritz said. “I keep the scoreboard, get the concession stand running, pay the referees on junior high nights.
“And then at a varsity game, I’m basically security — which we never need security – but I’ll take care of the referees.”
Being able to be both a teacher and administrator has given Fritz a new perspective on student life.
“It’s a totally different world; you see kids in the classroom in one way, and some that may not excel in the classroom, excel on the playing field,” Fritz said. “You get to see them perform there and you get to know the parents a lot better. I think, a lot of times, it’s more of a relaxed setting than the classroom.”
What Hofer appreciates the most from Fritz is his honesty.
“I can bounce ideas off him and he’ll give me an honest answer,” Hofer said. “One of the things we both talk about is we can agree to disagree. I don’t want a ‘Yes’ man. I want somebody that’s going to give me an honest opinion, and I value his advice.”
Fritz has also become a reliable worker for Fairfield. Hofer missed a month of school in 2018 due to health issues. The athletic department didn’t miss a beat, though, in large part to Fritz’s work.
“Tim, along with my secretary at the time, Jessica Dunlap, they took over and everything kept clicking,” Hofer said. “I had no doubt they would make things happen, and that’s important: if something happens, we’re not missing a beat and the kids can continue to do what they need to do with their sports.”
Despite seeing that Detroit Tigers hat nearly every day, Hofer has not converted to being a Tigers fan.
“Well, we haven’t gone that far,” Hofer said. “I’m a Reds fan, so they’ve probably only been slightly better off.”
Fritz hasn’t coached in a few years, but he’s hoping to get back into it someday. He likes his current role, though, because it’s “another way to stay around sports without getting yelled at by parents.”
After moving from Grand Rapids, MI to a small town like Millersburg, Fritz was unsure how the adjustment would go. Nearly three decades later, Fritz has become a staple of Fairfield athletics.
“I like the community,” Fritz said. “For the most part, if we need something done, families find a way to get it done. I’m also a very loyal person; I started there, and I just felt like I have a lot to give to that place. I didn’t really want to move up to bigger schools.
“I enjoy my teaching job and my assistant AD job and I want to thank all of the Fairfield community for a great 28 years.”