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Fred Fridley retiring as Watford City football coach

Fridley retiring after 312 wins, 9 state titles 

WATFORD CITY — A man considered one of the all-time great North Dakota high school football coaches is calling it a career after nearly half a century.

Fred Fridley Sr. ends his career at Watford City with a state record 321 wins, and 9 state titles.

Fridley, 71, retired from teaching 15 years ago and said now seems like a good time to end his coaching duties.

"I have a pretty good team coming back next year and I wanted to leave the coaches coming in with that type of situation," he told the Minot Daily News. "I think that's one of the reasons, and 48 years of coaching is a pretty lengthy time, and sometimes it's time to get out."

Fridley spent 42 seasons in Watford City. His teams won 76 percent of their games and advanced to 16 state championship games, with the last title coming in 2008. He was named high school coach of the year four times and national coach of the year in 1997. He has coached more than 100 all-state players, and Watford City's football field is named in his honor.

"Being in the state championship game 16 times, that was always a highlight of the coaching part of it," Fridley said. "We won nine of them, but the other ones that we were runners-up, those were just as special. All the teams I really appreciated. The wins were really important, but all the kids who came back and say it was memorable to have me coach them, that was special as well."

Fridley coached both of his sons — Fred Jr. and Guy. Guy told The Bismarck Tribune that it was an honor to be coached by his dad.

Fridley Sr. plans to stay active.

"I will still enjoy doing things outside, like golfing," he said. "I will still go to football games and see my family. I have a lot of friends, and I like to do a lot of different things to enjoy the free time."