A sports media website reported on Monday afternoon about a team meeting conducted by former Georgia Southern football coach Willie Fritz in late 2015.
The story contained an audio clip of over 12 minutes that captured Fritz informing his team that he intended to leave the program in order to accept another job.
Fritz was officially announced as the head coach at Tulane University on Dec. 11, 2015 and currently holds the same post.
The audio clip posted Monday quickly stirred up a fervor amongst Georgia Southern fans on team message boards and coursed through various social media outlets, even prompting some former Eagle football players to weigh in with comments.In the audio recording, Fritz speaks at length about his admiration of the team and his hopes that they’ll continue to succeed.
He also references a lack of job “security” and an impressive offer as his reason for leaving the program.
Officials from Tulane indicated that Fritz had no comment on the matter.
Georgia Southern athletic director Tom Kleinlein offered no personal comments, but did state that, “Earlier today, there was a release on a media site regarding a former football coach here. What we did today was invite (the media) here to share with them the process and the documents that took place to better explain the process that we went through.”
The Georgia Southern athletic department made available the minutes from a Nov. 25, 2015 meeting of the Georgia Southern University Athletic Foundation.
During that meeting, the board gave its approval to increase Fritz’s salary from an annual $500,000 to $700,000. The additional funds provided — according to notes — were to come from a reduction in committed salary to Athletic Foundation fundraising personnel.
The meeting also resulted in the approval of an additional $150,000 to increase the available funds with which to compensate additional members of the football coaching staff.
The minutes from the meeting indicated that — upon approval —Kleinlein intended to present the terms of a new contract to Fritz following the Nov. 26 game between Georgia Southern and South Alabama.
Georgia Southern also made available for viewing the ultimately-declined contract that was presented to Fritz.
According to the contract, Fritz was offered a guaranteed four years of compensation from the university. Additional language in the contract guaranteed that any season in which the football team won at least seven games would automatically add an additional year of compensation from the school.
All terms of the proposed contract were approved by the athletic department’s business office and the university’s legal office and — according to Kleinlein — presented to Fritz’s agent Brian Holland.