Will C. Crawford Alumni Association & Foundation
For many Crawford High School students, Fritz Ziegenfuss was the basketball coach of rival Patrick Henry High School. However, Ziegenfuss is a 1961 Crawford High School graduate who at one time was the Associated Student Body's commissioner of athletics at Crawford.
Ziegenfuss initially attended Jackson Elementary School before spending third through sixth grades at Campus Lab. He spent his three junior high school years at Horace Mann prior to his three years at Crawford.
Ziegenfuss' father, George, was San Diego State College's basketball coach. He was also on the faculty of San Diego State's physical education department, and he was on the thesis committee of eventual Crawford baseball coach Jerry Tooze. Ironically, after Fritz Ziegenfuss graduated from Crawford and San Diego State, his student teaching assignment was at Crawford under Tooze. "What a good mentor teacher he was," Ziegenfuss said of Tooze.
Fritz Ziegenfuss had been a pitcher in Little League and Pony League, and he pitched on Crawford's junior varsity baseball team as a sophomore in 1959. "My arm was sore even as a tenth-grader," he said.
Ernst Griffin was Crawford High School's first Associated Student Body commissioner of athletics. He served as the commissioner of athletics as a sophomore in 1957-58 and a junior in 1958-59 before becoming the ASB president in 1959-60. Ziegenfuss succeeded Griffin as the ASB commissioner of athletics.
Although Ziegenfuss started tryouts for the varsity baseball team in 1960, he decided to focus on basketball. "I was totally divorced from baseball at that point of my life," he said.
His parents had bought him a new pair of baseball shoes the day he quit baseball. "They had gone out unbeknownst to me," he said. His parents understood his decision to focus on basketball rather than to play baseball. "They honored my wishes," he said.
Ziegenfuss played basketball only at Crawford as a junior and senior. Jim Sams was the Colts' coach. "He's a great guy," Ziegenfuss said of Sams.
Sams' presence at Crawford meant that Ziegenfuss had to coach elsewhere, but Sams and Ziegenfuss were friendly rivals. "I think he was very happy for me, and we had some good games," Ziegenfuss said.
Ziegenfuss played basketball at San Diego State under his father. "I was pretty much a substitute my whole career. But I didn't mind. I learned a lot," he said.
Ziegenfuss began his teaching career at Madison High School in 1966. He spent two years at Madison, teaching science and physical education and coaching junior varsity basketball. He became Patrick Henry's first basketball coach in 1968.
Before Ziegenfuss' parents moved to El Cajon in 1972, Valerie Ziegenfuss graduated from Crawford in 1967. By that time, she was already a prominent tennis player, and eventually she played on the women's professional tour. George Ziegenfuss passed away in 2007.
Fritz Ziegenfuss spent 27 years coaching boy's basketball, girl's basketball, boy's volleyball, girl's volleyball, and boy's tennis at Patrick Henry and won a total of 14 league titles. He won boys basketball CIF championships in 1973, 1980, and 1982 and won six Eastern League boys basketball titles, and when he retired in 1995, his 465-260 record gave him the most wins ever in the San Diego Section for a boy's basketball coach. Ziegenfuss spent eight years as the girl's basketball coach at Patrick Henry, winning CIF championships in 1979 and 1981 while guiding the undefeated 1978-79 Patriots to a 24-0 season.
Ziegenfuss also served as the head basketball instructor of the San Diego State University Summer Youth Fitness Program. He moved to Fallbrook in 1997. In 2001, Ziegenfuss was inducted as a San Diego County High School Coaching Legend.