Coach Fitzgerald to Coach the Knights in 2009

Coach Fitzgerald to Coach the Knights in 2009

When the Southern Virginia University football team kicks off their 2009 season at home on August 29 against Concord University, they will be led by new head coach Delane Fitzgerald. Southern Virginia announced Fitzgerald as interim head football coach on February 9, 2009.

Fitzgerald, a native of Nelson County, Va., took over from Mike Smith, who announced in January that he had accepted the head-coaching job at Olympus High School in Holladay, Utah.

Fitzgerald has been an offensive coordinator at Southern Virginia since 2007. In 2006 he was the special teams coordinator and secondary coach.

DeLane coached alongside both of our previous head coaches: Gary Buer and Mike Smith," said Southern Virginia Athletic Director Tom Longenecker. "He knows our players and he knows the game. We are excited to see what he can do to build upon the legacy and traditions that have been established over the last six seasons."

Fitzgerald said that character is more important than winning and that he does not expect Southern Virginia to be known only for its win-loss record. "The thing that we want to be known for is the type of young men we produce here-the types of husbands and fathers we produce," he said. "The players should expect discipline, organization and hard work from me and the rest of the coaching staff and we'll expect the same from them."

In his two seasons as offensive coordinator Fitzgerald led the offense to its most productive seasons in program history.

During the 2005 season Fitzgerald served as the offensive coordinator at Bethel College, an NAIA school that plays in the Mid-South Conference Western Division. The Wildcats finished the 2005 season 7-4 overall and 6-2 in conference play, winning the Western Division.

Fitzgerald's first coaching job was as the defensive coordinator at Bridgton Academy, a college preparatory school in North Bridgton, Maine. He then served as the defensive line coach at James Madison, his alma mater, in 2002. Following his stint with the Dukes, Fitzgerald was the special teams coordinator and running backs coach at University of Tennessee at Martin from 2003-2004.

Fitzgerald's collegiate playing career began at Potomac State Junior College where he played quarterback and wide receiver. He was a two-year starter and a captain in 1996, his sophomore season. That year Fitzgerald earned the James "Horse" Lough Award for leadership.

After finishing at Potomac, Fitzgerald completed his eligibility at James Madison. After redshirting in 1997, he was a two-year starter in 1998 and 1999 at fullback. Fitzgerald earned first-team Academic All-Atlantic 10 honors both seasons and in 1999 was a game captain and helped the Dukes capture the Atlantic 10 conference championship with an 8-4 record. Also in 1999 he received the John David Kause Leadership Award, given to the senior football player at James Madison who shows the highest level of leadership skills, both on and off the field. That season James Madison defeated Connecticut and South Florida, teams that made the jump from NCAA Division I-AA to Division I-A the next season.

Fitzgerald graduated from James Madison in December of 1999 with a bachelor's degree in kinesiology and a minor in coaching.

"I love football, I love Southern Virginia and I love the guys on this team," Fitzgerald said. "You can't imagine how excited I am to get started."