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New head football coach out to make a culture change

Mike Fitzgerald, York's new Varsity Football Head Coach, previously Offensive Coordinator at Naperville North.

Elmhurst Sports Photos

Mike Fitzgerald, York's new Varsity Football Head Coach, previously Offensive Coordinator at Naperville North.

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After months of searching for a new football head coach, York finally found their guy, and he isn’t just out to change York’s record–he’s out to change the entire culture.

Last Thursday, York introduced Mike Fitzgerald, former Naperville North offensive coordinator, as the new Head Coach of York Football. Coach Fitz’s previous offenses have averaged over 30 points per game and have won around 71% of their games–but it isn’t about the numbers to Coach Fitz.

“It’s not about what I want to do,” Fitzgerald said. “It’s about how I want to do it.”

Coach Fitz believes, and tells his athletes, that you have to out-behave your opponents before you can outplay them on the football field. You create a winning culture with discipline.

“Stats are going to be forgotten,” Fitzgerald said. “But your character lasts forever.”

When it comes to his plan on the football field, the first thing Fitz has to do is adjust to the personnel. This is to make sure that we are utilizing all of our players correctly. After that, there are specific things he wants to do. Fitz wants his players to control the line of scrimmage, stop the opponent’s running backs, create turnovers on defense, protect the ball, stretch the defenses, and not allow big plays.

“Every day,” Fitzgerald said, “I’m thinking about how I can make York football better.”

In the offseason, Fitzgerald wants his players to keep grinding, making sure they are always improving. There are going to be morning practices and summer camp for all of the players, along with power club in the mornings. He also wanted to remind his players that they are athletes, not bodybuilders. They should be focusing on improving things like their strength and agility, not their physique.

On top of that, Fitzgerald also wants his athletes to play other sports. As Coach Fitz put it, “There is no replacement for competition.”

Coach Fitz compared the football grind to pounding a large stone with a hammer. Even if you see no progress, you have to keep pounding the stone, and eventually, it will crack open. It isn’t just the one hit that cracks it open that matters, it’s all about all of the hits that came before it.

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