After graduation Don joined EF Hutton & Company as a trainee in 1959 and over 2 decades rose to become an Executive Vice President and a member of the Board of Directors, perhaps the most prestigious investment firm in the nation. Its famous phrase, “when EF Hutton talks, people listen”, was coined during Don’s leadership of Hutton.
In 1987, Don left Hutton to form Sanders Morris Mundy. Now more than 25 years later, the successor to Sanders Morris Mundy is one of the most successful wealth management firms in the United States with 38 offices managing over $18 billion. Don, together with storied private equity firm Lee Equity Partners and other members of its management, is still a substantial owner of that fast-growing organization.
Don continues to express himself in other ways. In 1979, he became part owner of the Houston Astros which whetted his interest in sports and sports franchises. In 1999 he, along with Nolan and Reid Ryan, founded Ryan Sanders Baseball which today owns the Round Rock Express (the Texas Rangers AAA Farm Club), the Corpus Christi Hooks, (the Houston Astros AA Farm Club), and other various baseball operations.
Although Don is well-known for his financial and sports expertise, he is equally well-respected as an active community leader. He is the founder of the Houston Police Foundation, was a Director of the Houston Police Pension System as well as serving on the Board of Regents of the University of Houston. He is currently a Trustee of the Museum of Fine Arts as well as a Board member of the Houston Texas Bowl and the Nolan Ryan Foundation.
Don has a long tradition of supporting area schools and has generously given to the KIPP Explore Baseball program as well as donating the Kinkaid School baseball field and facilities which bears his name. His tremendous love for animals led Don to Friends for Life, a No-Kill animal rescue and adoption shelter where he personally financed a state-of-the-art shelter and facility. Remembering his roots, Don donated and endowed a world-class baseball facility at his alma mater, Sam Houston State University where he was also inducted into the Hall of Honor. In addition, he funded a life-sized bronze statue in Cooperstown that commemorates the All-American Girls Baseball League.
From his business accomplishments to his dedication and love of sports, care of animals, and compassion for others, he continues to embrace life in the fullest.
Willie Fritz has directed Sam Houston State to a 31-10 record in his three seasons as Bearkat head football coach. The 31 wins rank as Sam Houston's most victories in a three-year span.
With back-to-back Southland Conference titles and NCAA Division I Football Championships finals appearances in 2011 and 2012, Fritz has reaped both regional and national honors.
The awards include 2012 Liberty Mutual NCAA FCS national "Coach of the Year," American Football Coaches Association "National Coach of the Year" in 2011 and "Regional Coach of the Year" both in 2011 and 2012 and Southland Conference "Coach of the Year" in 2011.
During his tenure as SHSU head coach, 28 Bearkats have earned All-Southland Conference honors a total of 49 times, eight players have been named All-America and Kats have won Southland awards for "Player of the Year", "Offensive Player of the Year", "Defensive Player of the Year" and "Newcomer of the Year."
The team's 14-1 record in 2011 and the 11-4 mark in 2012 represent the two highest single season victory totals in Sam Houston history.
Fritz, who has produced an overall record of 167 victories, 62 losses and one tie as a head coach, became the 14th head football coach at Sam Houston State University on December 18, 2011.
During his 31-year career, Fritz has been part of programs both as a head coach and an assistant that have rolled up an overall record of 251 wins, 88 losses and five ties. The record includes 10 appearances in post-season play (bowl games or playoff appearances) and 11 conference titles.
Fritz came to Huntsville from the University of Central Missouri were he stands as the "winningest" coach in the Mules' 114-year football history.
Fritz rolled up a 97-47 record in 13 seasons as Central Missouri head coach. In 11 of those seasons, Central Missouri posted winning records. He is the only Central Missouri head coach to produce eight consecutive seasons of seven or more wins.
Fritz served as a graduate assistant for Bearkat squads that went 16-6 in 1984-85 and won the 1985 Gulf Star Conference championship.
He was the secondary and special teams coach for the Bearkats in 1991 and 1992, helping lead Sam Houston to a Southland Conference championship and starting a special teams success tradition that lasted more than a decade. The "block party" saw Kat special teams block 80 punts, field goals and extra points in the 14 seasons from 1991 to 2004.
From 1993 to 1996, Fritz was head coach at Blinn College where turned around a program that had gone 5-24-1 in its three previous seasons. In just a short time, he produced a 39-5-1 record and two national junior college championships. For his efforts at Blinn, Fritz has been inducted into the NJCAA Hall of Fame.
As head coach at Central Missouri, Fritz led the Mules to their first post-season berth in 32 years when they defeated Minnesota-Duluth in the 2001 Mineral Water Bowl. A year later, Central Missouri earned its first NCAA Division II playoff berth after winning the Mid-America Athletic Association (MIAA) championship. Fritz coached 152 All-MIAA performers including 41 first team selections and 24 All-Americans. Fritz ranks No. 15 among active NCAA Division II head coach in victories.
In his 13 years at UCM, the Mules enjoyed an 84 percent graduation rate with three Academic All-Americans, 14 Academic All-Region and 144 MIAA Commissioner's Academic Honor Roll selections.
Fritz was the second member of his family to coach at Central Missouri. His father, the late Harry Fritz, was the Mules' head football coach in 1952 and later become executive director of the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA).
Fritz played college football at Pittsburg State University. He was a four-year starter as a defensive back and played on two conference title teams. He was a student assistant coach for the Gorillas in 1982 and was an assistant football coach at Shawnee Mission Northwest High School in Kansas in 1983 and Willis High School in Texas in 1986 and was defensive coordinator at Coffeyville College in Kansas from 1987 to 1990.
Fritz and his wife Susan have three children, Wesley, Elaine and Brooke.