An era ended officially Friday night when long-time Mary Hardin-Baylor head coach Pete Fredenburg announced his retirement. Fredenburg was 231-39 in his tenure as head coach of the Crusaders, which began in 1998. Larry Harmon, the team’s defensive coordinator for the last 17 seasons, was promoted to head coach, according to a press release issued by the university.
Fredenburg guided Mary Hardin-Baylor two 17 American Southwest Conference (ASC) championships and two NCAA Division III national titles (2018 and 2021). He’s the only coach in program history, literally building the state’s best pound-for-pound program in the 21st Century from scratch.
The Cru went 3-7 in that inaugural 1998 season. The program’s first winning record cam in 2000. The first playoff appearance was earned in 2001. Mary Hardin-Baylor won its first ASC title in 2002. The first appearance in a national championship announced the Cru’s arrival as prominent D-III program in 2004.
Chasing a national title would be Fredenburg’s final obstacle. He cleared that path in 2018 and added another one this past season. The Cru advanced to the playoffs 17 times in his 24-year tenure. The 47 playoff wins over that span is more than all other ASC programs combined. The Cru reached the quarterfinal round the playoffs in 12 of Fredenburg’s 24 years.
Harmon was on Fredenburg’s staff for the last 20 seasons. Harmon was the secondary coach during his first three seasons prior to a promotion to defensive coordinator, where he’s remained for the past 17 seasons. The 2017 defense set a new NCAA record for scoring defense by allowing 7.3 points per game.
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