Mt. Juliet girls basketball coach Chris Fryer has announced his resignation after 22 seasons leading the Lady Bears.
Fryer led Mt. Juliet to 10 appearances in the TSSAA girls’ state tournament, including the 2005 Class AAA championship. In doing so, he became the third Mt. Juliet girls’ coach to win a state title, joining Tommy Martin and Larry Inman.
Fryer cited a desire to spend more time with his family in his decision to step down.
“My youngest son (Ian) is going to be a junior next season at Watertown, and being at Mt. Juliet it’s a good little trot over there,” Fryer said. “I get to watch him during football season but not so much during basketball season. I’m looking forward to spending more time just being a dad.
“After 22 years, I feel I need to support my kids more and others less. A lot of folks can lead the Lady Bears. Only I can be there for my kids.”
Fryer has two grown children, one of whom currently attends UT-Chattanooga, and one grandchild.
Fryer also cited a transition at Mt. Juliet with the opening of Green Hills.
Fryer’s first win as Mt. Juliet’s coach came against Clarksville Northeast on Nov. 24, 1998. His team’s victory over Dyersburg in the 2005 state championship was the 200th of his career. Fryer won his 500th game on Feb. 22, 2016 when the Lady Bears defeated Lebanon in the District 9-AAA Tournament.
In all, Fryer won or shared 13 district titles in his 22 year-tenure at Mt. Juliet. His teams went 243-45 in district play during the regular season. His last team was plagued by injuries and finished 7-17.
“I’ve had some great kids and made some really great memories,” Fryer said of his coaching career. “Going to the state tournament 10 times is awesome. You’re making a run, the community’s supporting you, everyone’s into it.”
He said he took pride in his teams’ consistency, as they won 10 of 11 substate games during his 22 years.
“When it got to crunch time, our team didn’t choke,” Fryer said. “Your goal at Mt. Juliet is to win a state championship. But to win it, you’ve got to get there. If you played for our program, you were going to have an opportunity to go to the state tournament.”
Fryer graduated from Mt. Juliet in 1986 and from Middle Tennessee State University in 1991. He said he expected to remain a teacher at Mt. Juliet, where he has taught for 28 years. He currently teaches wellness and physical education and previously taught history at MJHS.
“I’ve been in Wilson County the whole time, and probably teaching and doing what I need to do there. I just don’t plan on coaching.”