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Fitzgerald Reflects on Coaching Career

Video Credit: WDEF CBS Chattanooga, TN
Published on July 16, 2020 -
Fitzgerald Reflects on Coaching Career
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Fitzgerald Reflects on Coaching Career

To the state title game this season.

It's always a journey to get to cookeville, much like the journey fitzgerald has endured during his coaching career.

Rhea co was home for jason fitzgerald.

He starred on the gridiron for the golden eagles, and later served as the team's head coach on two different occasions.

But sometimes life takes us from home.

Fitzgerald:"my son had died.

We needed some time off.

Things weren't going exactly the way that we wanted them to go.

Once jackson died.

To get away from some of the memories and things.

Let's get out of here and do something different."

When fitzgerald left rhea county, he made good memories at hixson and now meigs county, turning around both programs. fitzgerald:"we beat somebody we were not supposed to beat.

When we were at hixson, it's when we beat red bank for the first time in ten or eleven years.

Because you can come in and do new things and talk about new things, but if you keep losing to the same people over and over and over again.

One of the stories right here was we were going to rockwood my first year.

I believe the year before rockwood had beat us you know like 45-0 at the half.

Here's how my assistant coaches believed.

Coach hackney told the team if we beat rockwood, i'll buy y'all a tiger.

So guess what?

We beat rockwood.

So i had hey, when we talk to these kids, if we tell them something, you're going to have to tell the truth.

So there is a big cat game area in roane county, and you can look it up.

You can go in and adopt an animal for 50-dollars a year.

So p.j.

Had to pay 50-dollars, and they gave us a picture of the tiger that we adopted.

It's name was zeus, and it hung down in the locker room for a long time."

Meigs co players might wonder if their head coach has the voice of zeus.

Fitzgerald yells:"get a drink!"

Fitzgerald:"you know i do have a loud voice.

When i get going, it gets going.

And the reason i can do that is they know i care about them.

They know it's not personal.

Those times when we build relationships in the locker room or the practice field is the way i'm able to get away with the yelling and all that my wife can't believe i can do on the field."

Meigs co made their own noise last year, getting to the state title game.

Fitzgerald:"to me the biggest thing was seeing those kids faces and seeing those kids accomplish something that we talked about over and over again.

Just the pride that it brought to this town and this community.

You know that's the fun thing."

And fitzgerald understands there's far more to coaching than state title runs.

Fitzgerald:"i had a young man who called.

It was probably about a week after we played in the state championship game.

Hey coach, i'm struggling.

Can you come see me.

Can you come talk to me.

Just that those players would do that.

I mean i can back to last year, and there's some games i can't tell you what the score is.

But i can tell you about the relationships that i've made with these kids, and the things we have done over the years."

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