When the Hillsdale Chargers women’s basketball team travels for away games, about half the time they’re accompanied by head coach Matt Fritsche’s wife, Colleen Fritsche, and their two children, Kellan and Kinley.
Bringing the whole family along on travel weekends brings Colleen and the kids closer to the team, which has made their move to Hillsdale two years ago much easier.
“I love the team,” Colleen said. “They are really, really good with the kids. We go on half of the road trips with them, and they are so good to my kids.”
Traveling with the team is just one of the ways Colleen has gotten close to the players. She also has hosted team dinners in her home, which she said Kellan, 7, and Kinley, 4, love.
“If it was up to my kids, they’d come over for dinner every weekend,” Colleen said.
Before moving to Hillsdale, Colleen spent her whole life in Omaha, Nebraska, where sports and family were a big part of her life.
“I played basketball up through high school, so from about age 10 to when I graduated,” Colleen said.
Colleen attended the College of St. Mary in Omaha, where she was a student-athlete, playing volleyball and tennis. She studied business and math.
“Overall, being a student-athlete is probably one of the best things someone could experience in their life — and it’s hard,” Colleen said.
Having been a collegiate student-athlete helps Colleen know what the basketball team is experiencing.
“When they’re not at practice, they’re studying,” Colleen said. “We’re blessed to be able to both go to college and be an athlete. Hopefully these girls know that.”
Sports have also always been part of Matt and Colleen’s lives. The two met while Matt was coaching at a high school with Colleen’s brother-in-law.
Moving to Hillsdale was big for the both of them, especially as they moved from Nebraska for the first time. Matt took the job as head coach at Hillsdale in 2017 after coaching at Creighton University.
Matt said Colleen’s willingness to move their family meant a lot to him.
“She was willing to move our family 10 hours to let me pursue a dream as a coach,” Matt said. “It’s crazy to think of the things she has to deal with during the season, and then even the offseason with recruiting.”
Colleen admitted that having her husband travel isn’t easy.
“Being a coach’s wife is really hard,” Colleen said. “Especially with kids.”
But traveling as a family keeps them together as much as possible.
Colleen also said that having assistant coach Katie Meister as one of her best friends helps a lot.
“She doesn’t get enough credit,” Colleen said.
Meister said that Colleen has been extremely welcoming to her, even during the busiest times of the season. She often finds herself at the Fritsches’ home for meals. The two said that moving to Hillsdale around the same time has brought them closer together.
Colleen’s own experience as a coach also gives her the opportunity to support both Matt and Meister.
“She’s almost always right,” Matt said. “I run decisions by her, especially when it comes to team chemistry. She understands what teams need because she has played and coached.”
Meister agreed, saying that she goes to Colleen for advice frequently.
“With her knowing so much about the team, she’s a good person to ask for advice,” Meister said.
On top of what she does to support the team and care for her family, Colleen also works full-time as a travel nurse recruiter for Atlas MedStaff.
“I love that my kids, my team gets to see the example of someone who is a mother, a wife, and a professional,” Matt said.