THE MICHIGAN DAILY
WEDNESDAY, APRIL 13. 1966
THE MICHIGAN DAILY WEDNESDAY, APRIL 13. 1966
Fitzgerald-The Spirit of '66
By JOHN SUTKUS 1
The American Dream has it that
the All-American boy grows up and
goesoff to find his fortune.n
But for every rule an exception
There is always someone like
Dennis Fitzgerald to be the home
town boy who made it good - in
Fitzgerald grew up here in Ann
Arbor. He went to St. Thomas
High School, where he was an out-
standing athlete, earning letters in
football, basketball, and baseball.
But, instead of trying college right
after high school, he signed up
for three years with the Marines.
After the service stint, Fitzger-
ald returned to AnnyArborand
spent his next four years at home
going to college. Attending Michi-
gan was a natural for him. "I
used to go to football games as a
kid, and it kind of got in me to
go here. I wanted to go to an in-
stitution of Michigan's caliber and
also play the caliber of football
Michigan does," said Fitzgerald.
It is hard to say what was his
first love in athletics here at Mich-
igan. He earned letters in both
football and wrestling. On the
football team he was a halfback
whose efforts were rewarded hand-
somely in his senior year when he
was named the team's most val-
His wrestling achievements seem
even more impressive. He never
wrestled in high school. "There
were only the three major sports
at St. Thomas," explains Fitzger-
ald. But it wasn't exactly like a
lamb going to the slaughter. "I
wrestled a little in service," he
adds, "and, when I got here I
started working out."
As wrestling Coach Cliff Keen
relates it, "He just got better and
better. Soon he was good enough
to wrestle in the Big Ten."
Wrestling in the Big Ten
brought him two conference cham-
pionships-the 167-pound crown
his junior year and the 177-pound
crown his senior year. Both years
he made it to the semifinals in
the NCAA mat tournament befor
being beaten. In addition, he was
the runner-up for the 167-pound
Big Ten title as a sophomore.
After graduation Fitzgerald stay-
ed around to work on his mas-
ters degree, hiring on as a gradu-
ate assistant in both football and
The following year the lure o
more competition prompted him t
give up coaching and spend a
year in amateur wrestling. Th
most notable result of that yea
was a championship in the 177
pound class in the Pan-America
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tournament. The tryouts for the I
Pan-American team provided a
stern test as he had to defeat
three opponents, two of them for-
mer NCAA champions, on the last
Also included in that year was
a second place finish in the na-
tional AAU wrestling tournament.
He never had a chance to wrestle
the champion in his class because
the AAU uses a system of points
to determine ttles.
That summer the positions of
freshman football coach and as-
sistant wrestling coach were open,
and, when offered the job, he ac-
cepted. Now he has been promoted
to defensive line coach, assuming
Bob Hollway's former duties.
An unabiding love of football
led him into coaching. He makes
no secret of his feelings for foot-
ball. "I have met some of the
finest people I have ever known
through football," says Fitzgerald.
And he adds the special attraction
it holds for him, "It's a man's
But that's not quite all there is
to Denny Fitzgerald.
If you happened to be at a
Michigan wrestling match this
past winter you might have seen
him hollering at, pleading with,
and in general imploring the Wol-
verine grapplers to do their best
for the Maize and Blue.
Much the same is true of a
football scrimmage this spring.
Fitzgerald can be easily heard
with his familiar "Let's go!" or
"Come on!" or "Get going!" as
the defensive line chases a ball
For Fitzgerald is a real whoop-
it-up guy in the old fire 'em up
tradition. He has that kind of
spirit that desire to win. that is
effort sparked us to an upset win,"
Cliff Keen has just as vivid a
remembrance of Fitzgerald. "He
was always a fierce competitor
and a terrific fighter. In 1960 we
had no business winning the Big
Ten championship but Denny fired
the team up so much that they
went out there and took it."
Perhaps Fitzgerald himself ex-
plains his feelings best when he
says "I like to see boys use their
natural abilities to the best ad-
vantage: If they aren't going out
there thinking, trying to win, then
they're just lazy."
A little push can go a long way
A chemistry major
Drank his Colt 45
from a beaker.
He said, "It's more fun!
It holds two cans, not one.
As an experience...
it's even uniquer."
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infectious and fires up a whole
team. In addition he is quick to
give praise where praise is due.
George Mans, recently hired as
an assistant coach played the
gridiron next to Fitzgerald for
two years and knows well what
kind of player he was. "Denny was
the most intense guy I ever played
with. He was always full of spirit."
"I can remember the Oregon
State game one year, where, on
the first play from scrimmage, he
broke four tackles and ran for a
25-yard gain. That tremendous
Major League Baseball
Detroit 2, New York 1
Chicago 3, California 2 (14 inn)
Baltimore 5, Boston 4 (13 inn)
Minnesota 2, Kansas City 1
San Francisco 9, Chicago 1
Pittsburgh 3, Atlanta 2
New York at Cincinnati (rain)
Philadelphia at St. Louis (rain)
Boston 120, Philadelphia 112
(Boston wins best-of-7 series
Today's Major League Schedule
Detroit at New York
Kansas City at Minnesota
Cleveland at Washington
Baltimore at Boston
Pittsburgh at Atlanta (n)
New York at Cincinnati (n)
Philadelphia at St. Louis (n)
Houston at Los Angeles (n)
Chicago at San Francisco (n)
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