Former Coach, AD Dan Fitzgerald Passes Away

Jan. 20, 2010

SPOKANE, Wash. - Dan Fitzgerald, 67, the basketball coach and athletic director at Gonzaga University from 1978-79 through 1996-97, died Tuesday in Spokane from an apparent heart attack.

Fitzgerald, who was an assistant coach under Gonzaga head coach Adrian Buoncristiani for two seasons from 1974-75, returned as head coach in April, 1978, after two seasons as an assistant coach at Santa Clara University. Fitzgerald was named athletic director of the Bulldogs in the summer of 1978.

Fitzgerald served two stints as head coach, the first from his hiring in 1978 through the 1981 season and the second from 1986-97. His 15-year record was 252-171. The Bulldogs won their inaugural West Coast Conference regular-season title in 1994, lost in the semifinals of the WCC Tournament and were awarded a bid to the National Invitational Tournament, the first post-season bid in Gonzaga's NCAA Division I history. The Zags stunned Stanford University in the first round on the road and lost at Kansas State University.

The Bulldogs won the 1995 WCC Tournament title as the No. 4 seed and with it the school's first trip to the NCAA Tournament. The following season the Bulldogs tied for first in the WCC regular season, lost the WCC Tournament title game and earned a first-round berth in the NIT.

Prior to the 1996-97 season Fitzgerald decided to relinquish his duties as basketball coach and Dan Monson was named head coach beginning with the 1997-98 season.

Monson, current Gonzaga head coach Mark Few and former Gonzaga assistant and current University of San Diego head coach Bill Grier all served on Fitzgerald's staff.

"I ask that you please keep Dan's family, especially his wife Darleen, daughter Kelly and his brother Jim, in your thoughts and prayers during this difficult time," Gonzaga President Dr. Thayne McCulloh said after hearing the news.

Services are pending.



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