Men's Soccer Coach Tom Fitzgerald Leaves UCLA
Jan. 9, 2004
Los Angeles, Calif. - UCLA menï¿½s soccer head coach Tom Fitzgerald has left his position to return home to become the head coach at the University of Tampa. Fitzgerald was the head coach at Tampa from 1987-1995 and led his team to the NCAA Division II National Championship in 1994.
In his two seasons at UCLA (2002-03), Fitzgerald led UCLA to the NCAA Division I Championship in 2002 and a quarterfinal appearance in 2003, along with two straight Pac-10 Conference titles. He compiled an impressive 38-5-4 mark over the two seasons and earned NSCAA/adidas National Coach of the Year honors in 2002 and Pac-10 Coach of the Year acclaim in 2003. This year's Bruin squad, which was ranked No. 1 in the nation for nine weeks of the regular season, became the first Pac-10 team ever to run the table in conference play, going 10-0. They also tied the school record with a season goals against average of 0.52 and had a 15-game winning streak from Sept. 7-Nov. 19, ranking as the second-longest streak in UCLA history.
While at UCLA, Fitzgerald coached four NSCAA All-Americans, the 2003 Pac-10 Player of the Year Matt Taylor, the 2003 Pac-10 Co-Freshman of the Year Chad Barrett and the 2003 Sports Illustrated on Campus National Player of the Year Zach Wells.
Returning home to Tampa where his family lives was the overriding factor in Fitzgerald's decision to leave Westwood. 'While my wife, Debi, and I will cherish our experience at UCLA forever and will take only great memories with us to our next challenge, we miss our family, and we have an intense desire and obligation to spend more time with them,' Fitzgerald said.
'I would like to take this opportunity to thank everyone who has contributed to our success over the past two years. There are so many people who made our transition to LA so positive, from (Athletic Director) Dan Guerrero and (Associate Athletic Director) Betsy Stephenson, to the dedicated coaches, my assistants, and to the players, parents and the many wonderful people along the way. I am leaving a great tradition and University.'
'Tom has had a tremendous positive impact on our program, both on and off the field, during his short time at UCLA,' said Guerrero. 'He will be tremendously missed, but we understand his reasons and respect his feelings that his family comes first. We wish Tom and his family great success in their future endeavors.'
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