March 5, 2002
The UCLA Athletic Department announced today that Tom Fitzgerald has been selected as head coach of the Bruin men's soccer program.
"It is truly an honor to become the next head coach of the UCLA Bruins, and I look forward to the challenge," said Fitzgerald. "This is one of the best soccer coaching jobs in the country, and I am looking forward to working with the players on the team and with the incoming recruits next season. I'm very excited, and I can't wait to get to Westwood and get started."
Fitzgerald served as head coach of Major League Soccer's Columbus Crew from 1996-2001 and led his team to three consecutive Eastern Conference finals (1997-99) and to the 1998 U.S. Open Cup Finals. The Crew amassed a 70-67-7 record with Fitzgerald at the helm and also built the United States' first soccer-specific stadium in 1999.
Prior to joining the pro ranks, Fitzgerald was head coach at the University of Tampa from 1987-96. He guided his team to the 1994 NCAA Division II National Championship and to NCAA Final Four appearances in 1987, 1992 and 1994. His teams also earned five Sunshine State Conference championships and received NCAA post-season tournament berths nine consecutive seasons. He was a three-time NSCAA South Region, Sunshine State Conference and Florida College Coaches Association Coach of the Year and earned induction into the Sunshine State Conference Hall of Fame in 1999. Fitzgerald's coaching record at the University of Tampa during his nine years was 132-32-11 (.754).
Fitzgerald's first head coaching experience was at Jesuit High School in Tampa. From 1978-1981, he led Jesuit to a 35-11-6 record. His record during those three seasons led to an assistant coaching position at the University of Tampa from 1980-85. A USSF "A" License and National Coaching Staff instructor, Fitzgerald served as an assistant coach with the U.S. Men's National "B" team from 1990-94.
Fitzgerald earned a Bachelor's Degree from the University of South Florida in 1974.
"Tom's experience as a head coach at the collegiate and professional levels offers a perspective that is important to the UCLA men's soccer program," said UCLA Associate Athletic Director Betsy Stephenson. "His passion for the game of soccer is contagious. He will mentor the student-athletes in this program with energy and strong leadership."