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USATF mourns the loss of Pat Petersen and Bill Fritz

Marathoner Pat Petersen passes away

USA Track & Field remembers Pat Petersen, who passed away Sunday, May 31 at age 56 due to complications from pancreatic cancer.

Petersen is remembered as one the best marathon athletes from the 1980s after placing in the top-4 in three runnings of the New York City Marathon. He was fourth in 1984 (2:16:35), third in 1985 (2:12:59) and fourth in 1987 (2:12:03), which puts him in the company of Bill Rodgers, Alberto Salazar and Meb Keflezighi as the only other men to accomplish that feat.

Petersen’s running career also includes a 1983 debut NYC Marathon finish of  2:12:06 for 12th place, a 4:04 mile, and a 5,0000m PR of 13.42 indoors, which ranks 17th on the all-time U.S. list. He ran his last NYC Marathon in 1991, finishing in 2:19 even after suffering a cracked rib from an elbow at the start.

Petersen was slated as a participant in the 1988 U.S. Olympic Marathon Trials before dropping out of the race.

He ended his career working for Dowling College on Long Island. He was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer only 10 weeks ago, and is survived by his wife, Bea Petersen, a former 2:46 marathoner, and their four children, Maggie, Eric, Jack and Joy.

USATF remembers certified coach and lead instructor Bill Fritz 

USA Track & Field mourns the loss of Bill Fritz, a certified USATF Level I and Level II coach and lead instructor, who passed away at age 77 on Thursday, May 28 during a medical procedure.

Fritz was the longtime head coach of track & cross country teams at Rowan University, where he coached two-time Olympian and the 1980 Division III steeplechase champion Derrick "Ringo" Adamson in addition to 14 All-Americans and 17 Academic All-Americans in cross country and more than 265 in track and field.

A member of the NCAA Track and Field Committee and the NCAA D-III Cross Country Coaches Association, Fritz led Rowan track teams to four straight New Jersey Athletic Conference Championships (1994-97), with the men claiming 23 NJAC titles. He guided one, D-I champion, 43 D-III outdoor champions and 10 D-III indoor champions, and was named the 2000 NJAC Women’s Outdoor Coach of the Year and the NJAC Men's Outdoor Coach of the Year in both 2003 and 2007.

In cross country, Fritz led the men’s team for 41 years and the women’s for 18 seasons, dating back to 1994. Under his leadership, the Rowan men’s cross country team won 19 NJAC Championships, including 17 straight from 1974 to 1990, and they qualified for 19 national championships. The women won three consecutive NJAC Championships from 1992-94, and made their first NCAA appearance, where they finished 11th.

Prior to his post at the helm of the programs, Fritz was an assistant for 22 seasons. 

The legendary coach won four NCAA Division III Mideast Region Coach of the Year awards in addition to being named NCAA D-III Mideast Region Women’s Cross Country Coach of the Year and the 2004 NJAC Coach of the Year.

A graduate from Northern State College in 1960 with a bachelor's degree in health and physical education,  Fritz received his master's from South Dakota State University in 1965. 

Prior to Rowan, Fritz had several coaching stints, including Wosley High School, Standing Rock Community High School, South Dakota State and Southern Illinois University.

He is also a member of the Gloucester County Hall of Fame. 

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