Statesboro, GA (SportsNetwork.com) - Georgia Southern has hired Willie Fritz as head football coach, naming him Friday to replace Jeff Monken and lead the storied FCS program to the FBS level.
Fritz, 53, coached Sam Houston State the past four seasons. After going 6-5 in his debut season, he led the Bearkats to back-to-back FCS national runner-up finishes as well as Southland Conference championships in 2011 and '12.
He led them into the FCS playoffs again this past season and was 40-15 as coach of the Bearkats.
Georgia Southern, part of the Southern Conference since 1993 and a six-time FCS national champion, will join the Sun Belt Conference later this year as it makes the jump to the FBS level.
The Eagles will be a revenue-sharing member in 2014, eligible for the Sun Belt title. But the team won't be eligible to play in a bowl game until it becomes a full conference member in 2015.
Monken was named head coach at Army on Dec. 24. He spent the last four seasons guiding the Eagles.
Fritz was a four-year starter at defensive back for Pittsburgh State from 1978-81 and was the head coach at Blinn College from 1993-96, winning two national junior college championships. He coached Division II Central Missouri from 1997-2009 and has a 176-67-1 record across the three levels.