Although real-life friends will become foes for 60 minutes on Saturday, Southern Miss head coach Will Hall credited Tulane head coach Willie Fritz for resurrecting his career in football.
Will Hall, the son of legendary Mississippi high school football coach Bobby Hall, cemented a positive reputation in the coaching industry but grew to resent aspects of the profession because it seemed that good people were hard to find. Then, Willie Fritz came along with an opportunity for Hall to serve as Tulane’s offensive coordinator.
Now, Hall considers Willie Fritz to be a mentor, friend, and even a grandfather figure to his youngest son.
“Pete, my youngest son – Coach Fritz is like a grandfather to him. Coach Fritz saved my career,” Hall said. “When I had made the D1 transition, I was really down on the profession. He brought me in and getting to work for him showed me that you could win and succeed in this profession and still be a good person, which I always believed in my heart, but you don’t see that a lot in this profession anymore.”
During Hall’s time at Tulane, he helped Tulane record one of the most successful offensive seasons in program history. In 2019, the Green Wave finished the season ranked 11th in the nation in rushing offense, 22nd in total offense, and 30th in scoring offense. The Tulane offense set the program record in rushing yards at 3,162 yards that same season.
A 30-13 victory over his current employer, Southern Miss, in the Lockheed Martin Armed Forces Bowl in January 2020 would turn heads in Hattiesburg, and arguably make the case for Hall to become the Golden Eagles’ next head coach. As Hall prepares to face his former boss, here’s what he had to say of Fritz leading up to Saturday’s kickoff.
“He does things the right way. I’m so happy that they’re off to a 3-0 start,” Hall said. “They’re trying to kick our butt and we’re trying to kick theirs this weekend.”
Southern Miss and Tulane will battle it out in the Battle for the Bell in New Orleans on Saturday at 6 p.m. CT. The game will be streamed on ESPN+.