Tennessee head coach Jeremy Pruitt filled one more gap in the Vols’ staff on Friday night, according to reports. Houston Texans’ strength and conditioning coach Craig Fitzgerald has been hired by the Vols to the same position, as first reported by Aaron Wilson of the Houston Chronicle.
Fitzgerald has plenty of college athletics’ experience. He worked at Maryland from 2000-05 as the assistant director of strength and conditioning and oversaw training for men’s basketball, men’s lacrosse, women’s volleyball, and wrestling, and assisted with training for football. Harvard hired Fitzgerald in 2006, and he oversaw training of all of the Crimson’s 41 NCAA teams while working as director of strength and conditioning.
Fitzgerald’s first SEC experience was a three-year stop at South Carolina from 2009-11 before being hired at Penn State under Bill O’Brien in 2012. He followed O’Brien to Houston in 2014, where he’s worked until tonight.
Teams have had on-field success with Fitzgerald, even if without causation. Harvard football won back-to-back Ivy League titles in 2008-09, South Carolina had its first-ever top ten season and eleven wins in 2011 and the Texans have won two AFC South titles since 2014, with Fitzgerald being involved in all of them.
Tennessee’s new strength coach also has a bit of a crazy side. There’s the below video of Fitzgerald, without a shirt, sort of doing up-downs on a cold and wet game day. Then there’s this Deadpsin article (Completely NSFW. Do not open the link with small children or coworkers/bosses around.) detailing an anonymous “Coach Mac” that has all but been confirmed to be Fitzgerald.
However, there’s also this nice feature on him in the wake of Penn State’s punishment about Fitzgerald’s push for his players.
Whatever your opinion of him, Fitzgerald seems to be all set to join Pruitt’s staff in Knoxville following Monday’s national championship game. Hopefully, he’ll be wearing a shirt.