Mount Vernon coach steps aside after reinvigorating school football program
Monty Fritts, who coached the varsity football team at Mount Vernon High School for the past seven seasons, officially ended his coaching career Nov. 16.
When Fritts was hired at Mount Vernon in May 2016, the Majors were coming off some difficult times — the team had won only two of its 20 games during the prior two seasons. Under their new coach, the players quickly rebounded, heading to the playoffs four seasons in a row. During the 2019-2020 season, the Majors went 10-2, winning the district championship, and Fritts was celebrated as the 2019 Northern Virginia Football Hall of Fame High School Coach of the Year.
Now, Fritts —who will continue serving in his role as assistant director of student activities at Mount Vernon, is looking forward to spending more time with his family, including attending his seven-year-old son’s football practices.
“Football is very demanding,” said Fritts, noting that between attending meetings after practices and occasional back-to-back junior varsity and varsity games, he often couldn’t see his son before bedtime.
It was those very types of sacrifices, however, that helped transform the Majors into a confident and formidable force on the football field. Commitment also played a big role in the players’ evolution.
“You can’t just wake up and expect to be good at something,” said Fritts. “You need to make sacrifices” — like attending practices and doing weightlifting instead of going out with friends and having fun.
Over the years, the coach built strong relationships with his players, many of whom have gone on to attend college or serve in the military. Those bonds have meant the most to him, said Fritts, along with other time-honored traditions he started — like attending a yearly homecoming dinner with players at George Washington’s Mount Vernon and celebrating victories with a loudly shouted “HOW ABOUT THEM MAJORS!”
It’s HOCO week
One of the best traditions is back. Dinner at the Mt Vernon Inn pic.twitter.com/wVyItRGMfd
— Mt. Vernon Football (@MVMajorFootball) October 5, 2022
Fritts’ love for the team and school is abundantly clear. The best thing about working at Mount Vernon, he said, is “definitely the community — the types of kids and parents we have.” Fritts said he’s never felt unsupported there. “Everyone cares about the school and wants it to be successful,” he said. “We don’t get micromanaged by parents like in some other communities; they just want to provide support.”
Parents and students from the school are equally vocal about Fritts’ positive impact on the student body.
“The impact that Coach Fritts has had on our student athletes is immeasurable,” said Jennifer Molden, president of the Mount Vernon High School Athletic Booster Club. “His guidance and enthusiasm on and off the field has created an environment that encompassed the mission and motto of Mount Vernon High School. Coach Fritts will be missed on the field, but we are thrilled he will continue to be a part of the Major family.”
Coach Fritts "changed the Mount Vernon football program," according to John Hood, a middle linebacker for the Majors and a member of the Class of 2023. "He gives players a person to respect and admire. I consider myself lucky to have had him as my coach and as a role model."
Fritts said that anyone in the broader community who’s interested in learning how to support Mount Vernon’s sports programs and athletes can learn about fundraisers on school social media or call the school and ask to speak with him.
Within the next month, Mount Vernon administrators hope to announce the new head coach of the Majors, according to Fritts. The school is in the process of reviewing applicants who will undergo interviews with the director of school activities, the principal and an interview panel. They hope to have someone in place before the holidays.
The new coach will have big shoes to fill, according to Mount Vernon parent Gina Lee, a graduate of the school whose son played for three years under Fritts.
"Coach Fritts is the best coach anyone could ask for," said Lee. "He built Mount Vernon into a winning program. He's not only a tremendous coach but an amazing role model and mentor to the young men in the program."
Even though Fritts will no longer be calling the shots next football season, he definitely plans to root them on as a spectator. “I’ll bring my son,” said Fritts. “He’s famous for attending.”