Credit: UT Sports
The Tennessee Football team will be looking for a new Strength & Conditioning coach, as Craig Fitzgerald is expected to take a job with the New York Giants.
According to sources, Fitzgerald let his decision be known to folks inside the program earlier on today. Patrick Brown of 247 Sports was the first to report.
Craig Fitzgerald later confirmed his departure with a tweet
Thank you Vol Nation! pic.twitter.com/2bzuvkbfh8
— Craig Fitzgerald (@UTCoachFitz) March 19, 2020
Fitzgerald has family in the area, so a decision to take a job a the northeast made it more enticing. But, this one is still a bit of a head scratcher, especially with the timing. Some folks around the Tennessee program were “Shocked” by the decision, which would be the normal reaction.
Jeremy Pruitt talked about Fitzgerald being courted by a few teams in the SEC recently, “There have been several jobs that have been open across our league and Craig was the first guy that they called. He decided to stay here. He is in demand because he is good at what he does.”
This is a big hit for Tennessee, as they tried to work through another season without turnover in that department, especially with how much success they’ve had in the weight room.
Just last week, Tennessee HC Jeremy Pruitt had met with the media after the first spring practice of 2020 and brought up how much Fitzgerald has meant to his program “I can’t say enough about Craig and his guys and what they have done over the last three years. Our guys continue to get bigger, stronger, develop discipline and a lot of mental toughness. In the offseason, Craig is a guy that is in high demand. That is no secret.”
Word started to spread today, as messages were sent to folks inside the program and the coaches that were either in Knoxville or out on vacation. It came as a surprise to some, though Fitzgerald had already interviewed with the Giants.
As Jeremy Pruitt alluded to last week, Fitzgerald was a hot commodity. So, if there was any good news to come out of this, Pruitt will have a list of potential replacements ready to go.
This comes at a time that is not convienient for the Vols, as some players will not be returning to campus in the near future due to the “Coronavirus” and campus restrictions. How the remaining staff handles the next few months will be key, as they don’t have time to waste in getting players in an off-campus workout regimen.
This will be an interesting time for Tennessee seniors, as they will be working with another S&C coach. By the way, this will be the Vols 10th strength coach in the past 13 years. Also, Fitzgerald was entering the last year of his current contract.
But the bright side for Tennessee is that Jeremy Pruitt is already looking, so a new regime in the weight room will undoubtedly start sometime soon, you hope.