After a month of searching, Southern Utah University has announced DeLane Fitzgerald as the next head coach of SUU Football. Fitzgerald brings 14 seasons of head coaching experience with him, beginning at Southern Virginia University before moving onto Frostburg State University. Across those 14 seasons, Fitzgerald had an overall record of 86-49, including 10-1 in the 2021 season. Given his resume, it is clear that SUU Athletic Director Debbie Corum valued one thing: experience.
Following a 1-10 season, SUU Football parted ways with former head coach Demario Warren. Fitzgerald will be tasked with turning around and bringing hope to a program that won three games or less in each of its past four seasons.
About Coach Fitzgerald
Fitzgerald played fullback at Potomac State College in 1995. After two years at Potomac, he transferred to James Madison University for another two seasons. Fitzgerald got his coaching start at an academy in Maine where he served as the defensive coordinator. After moving around different programs, he landed at Southern Virginia. There, he served as an assistant for three years before becoming the head coach in 2009.
Southern Virginia University
In the six years before Fitzgerald’s arrival, the Southern Virginia Knights averaged just two wins per season as a National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics independent program. In his first season at the helm, he led the team to three wins. He followed that up with four wins in 2010 and 2011, then five wins in 2012. In 2013, the school joined NCAA Division III and Fitzgerald led the team to a program-record eight wins.
Frostburg State University
After the 2013 season, Fitzgerald was announced as the next head coach of NCAA Division III Frostburg State. In his first season with the Bobcats, they went 4-8. The team’s record improved to 6-4 in his second season and then 10-1 and a New Jersey Atlantic Conference title in his third season. Fitzgerald led Frostburg to two more double-digit win seasons after that.
In 2019, Fitzgerald and Frostburg moved to the Mountain East Conference in NCAA Division II. In their most recent season, the Bobcats went 10-1 and won the conference title. Fitzgerald leaves Frostburg as the highest winning coach in the school’s history with 62 total wins and three conference titles across eight seasons as well as the 2021 Mountain East Coach of the Year award.
Inheriting a program that has not had a winning season since 2017, Fitzgerald certainly has a tall task ahead of him. His track record shows that he has the ability to turn losing programs around, making him a no-brainer for SUU. Thunderbird football is entering a new era.
Story By: Christian Esparza
Photo Courtesy of Frostburg State Athletics