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Wednesday, September 28, 2022

Fritz Morales: The Man Behind The Voice

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“When I think about Fritz I think Bulldog Pride,” stated Waldron Middle School Principal, Chris Lipham. “Being the voice of the Bulldogs for 55 years makes a statement in a day and age where commitment is hard to come by. He absolutely loves doing what he does. He also has helped announce track meets for most of those years as well. I have worked closely with Fritz for my 19 years here and help him each Friday night get the starting lineup for the Bulldogs. I always stop by and check on the crew just because. He calls me on away Thursday night football games just to find out the score of our 7th and Jr high games. He keeps these in a ledger at home. He loves our town and our student-athletes. He and his Friday night crew enjoy their time together in the box every game night. He knows our history and has tremendous memories of Bulldogs past. There are very few people that even remember another PA voice other than Fritz Morales!”

Young Federico “Fritz” Morales

Federico “Fritz” Morales was born in Norwich, Kansas to Refugio and Natividad Morales. Young Federico recalls getting his nickname from his family and sitting with his dad by the light of a coal-oil lamp while his dad helped him learn to print the name, Fritz. One of 6 kids, Fritz was always outgoing as a child, with lots of friends and plenty of adventures with those friends in his small home town. He was probably just a little mischievous as well!

Pat and Fritz Morales

In high school, Fritz had always had a love and a passion for sports. He played basketball, football, and was on the track team. After graduating from Norwich High School, Fritz went on to attend Wichita State University where he played halfback in football for one season. In 1963, Fritz moved to Waldron, Arkansas where he worked for the Department of Agriculture/Soil Conservation Service until his retirement in 1993. During that time he and the love of his life for the last 63 years, wife Pat, had two daughters, Mareta who resides in Tulsa, Ok and Carla Terry who along with husband Michael live in Russellville, Ar, and a son Mark who also lives in Russellville, Ar with wife Kathy.

Fritz being recognized for 40 years of dedicated service to the Waldron Athletic programs

Also during that time is when Fritz started his Bulldog announcing in 1965. “Fritz has been the voice of the Bulldogs for 55 years. That’s dedication for anyone but he has done it through thick and thin with a smile on his face. He loves his Bulldogs,” expressed head boys’ basketball coach, Josh Brown. When he began in 1965, Fritz announced from an old, wooden press box that was located on the north side of the football field at Sawyer-Wright Field. “At the time, you had to climb a ladder to enter the press box,” explained daughter, Mareta. Over the course of all these years, he has also been the racing starter for track meets (he still announces for those), ran the clock for basketball games, was a basketball referee, and coached a PeeWee basketball team. (The Falcons).

Announcing from his wooden press box

As stated earlier by Chris Lipham, Fritz writes everything down in daily journals which he has done for years. “He’s a stickler for facts and statistics and keeps track of everything from daily sunrise/sunset times, weather stats, daily oil prices, hummingbird habits, and of course all types of sports stats,” Mareta continues. “Dad has watched generations of students participate in various Bulldog sports and really enjoys when former students and athletes stop by to visit him at the games. Seems like he’s always able to recall specific details of games/events that these students were involved in and they have fun sharing laughs and catching up with each other’s lives.”

Fritz Morales

Along with enjoying his free time with his 5 grandchildren and 7 great-grandchildren, Fritz also loves to be outside doing yard work and tending to his hibiscus flowers. He has a backyard shop where he seems to always have some type of project to tinker with. He also loves working crossword and sudoku puzzles, enjoys reading, and is especially interested in historical events like World War II, the Civil War, and Native American stories. But at the end of the day, nothing makes Fritz happier than football season in Waldron! “He always looks forward to Friday nights and getting to spend time and work with his “press box gang” who includes Ray Jett, Roger Sparks, Jeto Piles, and David Hawkins.”

Fritz and Pat with his 50 years of service plaque

Fritz truly is a genuine person with such a big heart and personality to match. He would do anything for anyone without question and has for decades. Most people who attend the Bulldog home football games don’t know the Waldron Wizard of Oz behind the curtain. But if they did, they would join the long list of people who have had the pleasure of being blessed to have Fritz in their lives. “Optimism is a word that comes to mind when describing my dad,” says Mareta. “He’s always cheerful and optimistic. He chooses to always look for the best in people and in situations. He always has a smile on his face and never meets a stranger.  Loves talking, laughing, and teasing with family and friends. He enjoys his small town and all the simple things of life. He loves nature and the outdoors and most certainly loves Waldron Bulldog Athletics!!”

So Fritz Morales. From the Waldron community, the Bulldogs and Lady Bulldogs, friends, family, and Resident Press, THANK YOU for the 55 years of tireless dedication and hard work to Bulldog sports!

And a special thanks to Mareta Morales!

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