Fritz was born on November 21, 1957 in Ironton, Ohio. He graduated from Ironton High School. At Ironton, he played on the football team where he lettered 3 times. In 1975, he earned several honors including being named Southeastern Ohio Athletic League (SEOAL) Co-Player of the Year and Associated Press Ohio Class AA Lineman of the Year.
Fritz played and lettered for the Ohio State Buckeyes football team under coaches Woody Hayes during the 1976, 1977 and 1978 seasons and Earle Bruce in the 1979 season. He made All-Big 10 team in both the 1978 and 1979 seasons. At the end of the 1978 season Fritz restrained his coach Woody Hayes after he punched Clemson linebacker Charlie Bauman of Clemson University in the Gator Bowl. The television replay and several still photos also show Hayes punching Fritz as he restrained him, but Fritz at the time denied that he was punched. Fritz said “…He was just trying to wrestle his way free. He didn’t want anyone to restrain him.” In 1979, his senior season, he helped the Buckeyes to a Big Ten championship with a perfect 11-0 regular season record, and a berth in the Rose Bowl. Following his senior year, as a 6-foot, 3-inch, 238-pound guard, he was recognized as a consensus first-team All-American, having received first-team honors from several publications and organizations including the Associated Press (AP), and United Press International (UPI).
Fritz was drafted by the Pittsburgh Steelers in the 10th round (277 overall selection) of the 1980 NFL Draft.