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Obituaries in the News

December 6, 2004

Tom Fitzgerald

TAMPA, Fla. (AP) _ Tom Fitzgerald, the coach of NCAA soccer champions in Division I and II who also coached the Columbus Crew of Major League Soccer, died after a motorcycle accident while on his way to scout players at a tournament. He was 53.

Fitzgerald, the University of Tampa’s soccer coach, died after calling his wife shortly after the collision Saturday, police said.

Fitzgerald returned to the university this year after coaching the Spartans from 1987-96, leading them to the Division II championship in 1994 and the Final Four three times. In 2002, he led UCLA to the NCAA national title, becoming the third person to win a championship in the top two divisions.

He coached Columbus from 1996-01, leading the team to three straight conference titles.

Fitzgerald joined the Crew as an assistant coach in the inaugural MLS season in 1996 and was appointed interim head coach with 10 games left in the season. He was elevated to head coach at the end of that season after leading the team to a 9-1 record and a playoff spot.

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