Baseball Volunteer Assistant Coach
John Fitzgerald – who spent the past three seasons as the head coach at Illinois Tech – has joined the Notre Dame baseball staff as the program[apos]s volunteer assistant coach. In addition to helping coach the outfielders, catchers and pitchers, Fitzgerald oversees Notre Dame[apos]s expansive baseball camp operation and helps coordinate the program[apos]s annual Opening Night Dinner.
Fitzgerald[apos]s three seasons at Illinois Tech (2004-06) included several noteworthy accomplishments. The 2004 Scarlet Hawks (22-25) posted the most wins by an Illinois Tech team in four years, with Fitzgerald winning more games that any previous first-year coach in the history of the program. His 2004 pitchers lowered the staff ERA by nearly half-a-run from the previous season while totaling 206 strikeouts, most by a Scarlet Hawks staff since the mid-1990s.
After securing the largest letter-of-intent signee group (13) in the history of Illinois Tech baseball, Fitzgerald guided the 2005 team to the secondhighest win total (26-21) ever by a Scarlet Hawks team. The team cracked the NAIA top-25 poll for the first time in the program[apos]s history while finishing as the Chicagoland Collegiate Athletic Conference (CCAC) leader in both team ERA (3.10) and stolen bases (88, school record).
Fitzgerald[apos]s 2006 pitching staff again led the conference in ERA (3.66) while his three seasons at Illinois Tech produced seven all-conference performers. As head coach, Fitzgerald oversaw all aspects of the program – including budget, fundraising and community service.
During his time at Illinois Tech (2003-06), Fitzgerald also served as assistant athletic director for external affairs. His duties included coordinating all sports information duties for the department[apos]s 10 NAIA athletic programs and overseeing all layout, content and updates for the athletic department[apos]s website.
Fitzgerald – who served as the CCAC[apos]s baseball chairman – also compiled significant experience coaching in the nation[apos]s summer wood-bat leagues for college-age players. He was head coach of the Central Illinois Collegiate League[apos]s DuBois County (Huntingburg, Ind.) Bombers in the summer of 2006 and was manager of the south squad for the CICL all-star game. He previously was head coach of the New York Collegiate Baseball League[apos]s Saratoga Phillies ([apos]05), after serving as pitching coach for the New England Collegiate League[apos]s Danbury (Conn.) Westerners in the summer of 2004 and with the CICL[apos]s Twin City Stars (Normal, Ill.) in the summer of [apos]03.
His assistant coaching experience includes stints at his alma mater the University of Chicago (1999), at St. Ignatius High School in Chicago (2000 head freshman/sophomore coach) and at University High School in Bloomington, Ill., as a varsity assistant and program pitching coordinator ([apos]03). He served as a baseball camp clinician at Notre Dame (2003-04), Illinois State (2003, [apos]05), the Chicago White Sox Training Centers (1997-99) and Bill Holowaty[apos]s Eastern Connecticut Baseball School (2004) – in addition to being a private pitching instructor in Chicago.
A four-year letterwinner at the University of Chicago, Fitzgerald was among the top pitchers for a Maroons program that posted three consecutive 20-win seasons for the first time in program[apos]s history. His 12-8 career record included a 6-2 mark during his sophomore season in 1996.
In addition to his playing and coaching accomplishment, Fitzgerald has been involved as a sports radio and television broadcaster. He spent the 2002-03 academic year as sports director at WJBC Radio in Bloomington, Ill., serving as the play-by-play voice for Illinois State football and basketball on a statewide radio network. His time at WJBC included hosting weekly football and basketball coaches shows for the seven-station radio network, delivering morning sports reports for the top-rated AM morning show in the market, and managing assignments for a five-person sports department at the news/talk station.
He spent three years (2000-02) as the TV and radio play-by-play voice for Loyola Chicago men[apos]s and women[apos]s basketball, also serving as the university[apos]s director of athletic marketing. His duties included all marketing and promotional efforts, in addition to coordinating publications, broadcasts and corporate sales efforts for facility signage.
Fitzgerald – who still assists with radio and TV broadcasting for Loyola basketball – has handled play-by-play work for Fox Sports Net Chicago, Fox Sports Net Ohio and Horizon League Television Network. He provided freelance TV and radio play-by-play for Comcast Sports Net Chicago ([apos]05-[apos]06) and Loyola radio ([apos]02-[apos]06) while also serving as a part-time sports talk host and anchor in Chicago at the nationally-syndicated Sporting News Radio Network, from 1999-2006.
A 1998 graduate of the University of Chicago (with a degree in sociology), Fitzgerald received his MBA – with concentrations in management and marketing – from Loyola Chicago in 2001. During his first two years at Loyola (1998-2000), he served as a sports information graduate assistant and was the primary media contact for men[apos]s and women[apos]s soccer, men[apos]s volleyball and softball.