Dan Fitzgerald

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Dan Fitzgerald
Sport(s) Basketball
Biographical details
Born (1942-03-03)March 3, 1942
San Francisco, California
Died January 19, 2010(2010-01-19) (aged 67)
Spokane, Washington
Alma mater Cal State, Los Angeles
Coaching career (HC unless noted)
196x–1968 Daniel Murphy HS (JV)
1968–1971 Archbishop Mitty HS
1971–1972 Santa Clara (freshmen)
1972–1974 Gonzaga (assistant)
1975–1978 Santa Clara (assistant)
1978–1981 Gonzaga
1985–1997 Gonzaga
Administrative career (AD unless noted)
1978–1997 Gonzaga
Head coaching record
Overall 252–171 (.596)
For the Neighbours character, see Daniel Fitzgerald (Neighbours)

Daniel John Fitzgerald (March 3, 1942 – January 19, 2010) was an American college basketball coach and athletic director at Gonzaga University in Spokane, Washington.

Fitzgerald was the head coach at Gonzaga for 15 seasons between 1978 and 1997 (except for 1981 to 1985) with an overall record of 252–171 (.596). He led the Bulldogs to their first appearance in the NCAA Tournament in 1995,[1] after leading them to their first post-season tournament, the National Invitation Tournament (NIT) in 1994, where they won at Stanford in the first round.[2] They had narrowly missed an NIT selection the previous two seasons.[3][4] Gonzaga returned to the NIT in 1996.

Among his recruits was future Basketball Hall of Fame member John Stockton, out of Gonzaga Prep in 1980.[5][6][7] Fitzgerald was also responsible for hiring coaches Mark Few, Dan Monson, and Bill Grier to Gonzaga.[8][9] His win total was a school record until Few passed him in 2009.

Prior to his hiring in April 1978, Fitzgerald was an assistant coach for three seasons at Santa Clara, with a previous two-year stint as an assistant at Gonzaga under Adrian Buoncristiani, a high school teammate whom Fitzgerald ultimately succeeded. In between, he worked in the private sector for a year. At Gonzaga, his first season as head coach was their final year in the Big Sky Conference.[10][11] Shortly after his arrival in Spokane, "Fitz" stated he was a strong proponent of moving out of the Big Sky to the WCAC.[12] After becoming part-owner of the Spokane Indians, athletic director (and former baseball coach) Larry Koentopp resigned in the fall of 1978 and Fitzgerald took on the AD position as well.[13]

Following his third year as head coach, Fitzgerald stepped down in 1981 to focus his efforts as athletic director and hired assistant and GU alumnus Jay Hillock as head coach.[14] Hillock resigned after four seasons in April 1985 and Fitzgerald returned to coach the Bulldogs.[15] After making it to the NCAA Tournament a decade later, he announced in 1995 that he planned to coach two more seasons and promote Monson, a GU assistant since 1988, to head coach.[9][16][17][18]

After 19 years as athletic director, Fitzgerald resigned in December 1997,[6][19] and was succeeded by Mike Roth.[20] Fitzgerald then worked in private business in the Spokane area.[21][22] He died in Spokane at age 67 after an apparent heart attack on January 19, 2010.[7][8][23]

Fitzgerald was also responsible for Gonzaga being put on four years of probation for keeping an illegal slush fund for recruiting purposes, hiding almost $200,000 from the NCAA. The NCAA investigators agreed that Gonzaga did not gain a competitive advantage from use of the money, since the totals spent on recruiting fell within NCAA guidelines. http://sportsillustrated.cnn.com/basketball/college/news/1998/07/30/gonzaga_probation/

Born in San Francisco, California, Fitzgerald went to high school at St. Ignatius and attended college at Santa Clara and San Francisco State,[10] and graduated from Cal State, Los Angeles. Prior to coaching at the college level, Fitzgerald was a high school coach and English teacher in California at Daniel Murphy (St. John Vianney) in Los Angeles and Archbishop Mitty (1968-1971) in San Jose.[24]

Head coaching record[edit]

Season Team Overall Conference Standing Postseason
Gonzaga Bulldogs (Big Sky) (1978–1979)
1978–79 Gonzaga 16–10 7–7 T-4th
Gonzaga Bulldogs (WCAC) (1979–1981)
1979–80 Gonzaga 14–13 10–6 T-3rd
1980–81 Gonzaga 19–8 9–5 3rd
Gonzaga Bulldogs (WCAC/WCC) (1985–1997)
1985–86 Gonzaga 15–13 8–6 4th
1986–87 Gonzaga 18–10 9–5 2nd
1987–88 Gonzaga 16–12 7–7 5th
1988–89 Gonzaga 14–14 5–9 6th
1989–90 Gonzaga 8–20 3–11 8th
1990–91 Gonzaga 14–14 5–9 6th
1991–92 Gonzaga 20–10 8–6 T-3rd
1992–93 Gonzaga 19–9 11–3 2nd
1993–94 Gonzaga 22–8 12–2 1st NIT 2nd Round
1994–95 Gonzaga 21–9 7–7 4th NCAA 1st Round
1995–96 Gonzaga 21–9 10–4 T-1st NIT 1st Round
1996–97 Gonzaga 15–12 8–6 T-4th
Gonzaga: 252–171 (.596) 119–93 (.514)
Total: 252–171 (.596)

      National champion         Postseason invitational champion  
      Conference regular season champion         Conference regular season and conference tournament champion
      Division regular season champion       Division regular season and conference tournament champion
      Conference tournament champion


  1. ^ Boling, Dave (March 7, 1995). "Slipper fits Gonzaga". Spokesman-Review. p. C1. 
  2. ^ Boling, Dave (March 18, 1994). "Zags prove they belong". Spokesman-Review. p. C1. 
  3. ^ Blanchette, John (March 16, 1992). "NIT snub frustrates Zags". Spokesman-Review. p. C3. 
  4. ^ "Area schools snubbed". Spokesman-Review. March 15, 1993. p. C1. 
  5. ^ Goodwin, Dale (April 7, 1980). "Stockton to enroll at Gonzaga". Spokesman-Review. p. 23. 
  6. ^ a b Withers, Bud (January 20, 2010). "Dan Fitzgerald, the wisecracking coach who built Gonzaga's foundation, dies". Archived from the original on January 4, 2014. Retrieved January 4, 2014. 
  7. ^ a b "Longtime Gonzaga coach Dan Fitzgerald dies at 67". Seattle Times. January 20, 2010. Archived from the original on January 23, 2010. Retrieved January 21, 2010. 
  8. ^ a b Blanchette, John (January 20, 2010). "Former GU coach Fitzgerald dies". Spokesman-Review. Retrieved January 4, 2014. 
  9. ^ a b Stratton, Zach (January 21, 2010). "Dan Fitzgerald 1942-2010". Gonzaga Bulletin. Retrieved January 4, 2014. 
  10. ^ a b "Gonzaga picks Dan Fitzgerald". Spokane Daily Chronicle. April 17, 1978. p. 17. 
  11. ^ Missildine, Harry (November 29, 1978). "Fitz: 'That reminds me...'". Spokesman-Review. p. C1. 
  12. ^ Missildine, Harry (June 6, 1978). "Gonzaga scans conference switch". Spokesman-Review. p. 19. 
  13. ^ "AD named". Spokane Daily Chronicle. October 13, 1978. p. 24. 
  14. ^ "Hillock gets Gonzaga job". Spokane Daily Chronicle. March 4, 1981. p. 21. 
  15. ^ Blanchette, John (April 4, 1985). "'I'm just looking for a change'". Spokesman-Review. p. C1. 
  16. ^ Boling, Dave (November 8, 1995). "Fitzgerald will pass off to Monson in 1997". Spokesman-Review. p. C1. 
  17. ^ Blanchette, John (January 5, 1997). "All the right moves". Spokesman-Review. p. C1. 
  18. ^ "Stockton's mentor retiring at Gonzaga". Eugene Register-Guard. Associated Press. February 15, 1997. p. 6D. 
  19. ^ Bergum, Steve (December 23, 1997). "Fitzgerald leaves GU under fire". Spokesman-Review. p. A1. 
  20. ^ Bergum, Steve (September 10, 1998). "Roth no longer just 'acting'". Spokesman-Review. p. C5. 
  21. ^ Bergum, Steve (March 9, 1999). "Fitz has cheered from afar". Spokesman-Review. p. C4. 
  22. ^ "Company lands super shirt deal". Spokesman-Review. February 2, 2006. p. B1. 
  23. ^ "Passings: Dan Fitzgerald". Los Angeles Times. January 21, 2010. Retrieved January 4, 2014. 
  24. ^ "Dan Fitzgerald". Spokane Chronicle. November 24, 1988. p. 6H. 

External links[edit]