NEW YORK - Major League Soccer today mourns the loss of former Columbus Crew head coach Tom Fitzgerald. The 52-year-old passed away following a motorcycle accident in Tampa, Florida on Saturday while traveling to the Nike Friendlies in Bradenton.
"We are deeply saddened by this loss and the thoughts and prayers of everyone in MLS are with the Fitzgerald family," said MLS Commissioner Don Garber. "Tom will be dearly missed by the entire American soccer community for all he did for the sport in this country. His personality, enthusiasm and love for the game will never be forgotten."
Fitzgerald coached the Columbus Crew in the League's Inaugural Season in 1996 through 2001. He went on to lead the Crew to three consecutive Eastern Conference Championships and the 1998 U.S. Open Cup final. Following his six years in MLS, he moved to the collegiate ranks joining UCLA and returning most recently to head the program at the University of Tampa for the second time in his career.
In 2002, he led the UCLA Bruins to the NCAA national title, becoming the NSCAA National Coach of the Year and the third person in history to win a championship in Division I and II. He also became the first coach to win the NCAA Championship in his first season in Division I. Fitzgerald previously coached at the University of Tampa from 1987 through 1995 and led the Spartans to the NCAA Division II Final Four three times including the 1994 National Championship.
Fitzgerald is survived by his wife Debi and his two sons Shane and Jesse.
Fitzgerald's all-time coaching statistics
W L T PCT PTS OT 70 67 7 .510 195 1-0-7