The Fritz family of Overland Park knows the game of basketball.
Husband Ed is the boys’ basketball coach at Blue Valley Northwest and wife Ann is the girls’ basketball coach at Blue Valley North.
And both come from sports families.
Ann’s dad, Vince Costello, played for the Cleveland Browns and New York Giants in the NFL and is in the Browns’ Hall of Fame. He was on the Browns’ 1965 championship team.
Ed’s dad, Dr. Harry Fritz, was a college football coach and executive director of the NAIA here in Kansas City. His brother Willie is the head football coach at Georgia Southern.
“All seven children in my family attended college on some type of athletic scholarships in a variety of sports,” says Ed.
Ann played at Shawnee Mission East. Her Lancers won the state basketball title in 1983 and she was a member of two state championship volleyball teams. Her Lancer girls’ basketball team won the state title by 40 points and became the first Shawnee Mission school to win a state title in girls basketball.
She played basketball at Nebraska following her high school career at SM East.
Ann has done well in her 20 years at BVN. There was a stretch where the Mustangs made it to the state tournament 13 consecutive years. The Mustangs have won three state titles in her tenure and been second once and several third-place finishes.
Ed had a big run at BV Northwest. The Huskies placed second at the Class 6A state boys’ basketball tournament three years in a row from 2010-2012. And the Huskies captured the state title in 2013 and 2014. His 2013 team was undefeated.
“We were 94-6 in a four-year span (2011-2014),” Ed says.
And three of their five kids are involved in the sport.
Vince was a freshman basketball player at Sacred Heart University in Connecticut, sophomore Jordan played for Ann at BVN and Luke played eighth grade basketball at Oxford Middle School. He will attend BVNW next school year.
“Basketball runs in our family. Vince’s first word was ball. We have a lot of basketball on the TV because we just enjoy it,” says Ann.
And what is it like to coach at schools that are bitter rivals?
“Ed and I ended up at rival schools, but it has been fun,” says Ann. “When Vince played against BV North at BV North, the student section chanted, ‘Daddy’s boy.’”
“We just always enjoyed the experience of our kids’ activities as any other parent and never took anything personal. We try to support our kids in whatever they do and do not push basketball on them.”
The couple has been married for 19 years.
They are often asked what is it like to coach your own kid.
“I watched the NCAA basketball tourney (March 20-23) with Georgia State and listened to that coach talk about coaching his son,” says Ann. “I think I feel the same way about coaching Jordan and Ed felt the same about coaching Vince.
“You coach them as a coach and as a regular player as much as possible, but sometimes you have to step back and enjoy coaching as a parent.”
“I have five kids, two from my first marriage,” Ed says. “Ann is my wife and my best friend.”
Ed just finished his 13th year as the Huskies boy’s basketball coach. Before that he was the head coach at Center High School for 15 years. He was the head coach at Baker and an assistant at Nebraska-Kearney before that.
Ann’s only coaching job has been at BV North. She was on staff as a Physical Education teacher at Center.
It should come as no surprise that the basketball community brought them together. Both were teaching at Center High School in Kansas City when they met and the rest, as they say, is history.