by Cason Broers
Eagle Editorial Board
After a dismal 2009 season that concluded with a 2-8 record, head football coach, Donald Hollas, knew it was time for a change.
That change came last spring as Tim Fitzpatrick was hired as the defensive coordinator.
What is Episcopal High School’s loss is St. Thomas’ gain, as Fitzpatrick, who spent the last four seasons as the defensive coordinator, coached the Knights’ defense to a 26-12 record during that span, including a Southwest Preparatory Conference championship last season.
“At Episcopal, I was only on part-time,” Fitzpatrick said. “St. Thomas offered me the chance to teach as well as coach. I also have some unfinished business to attend to.”
Fitzpatrick’s teaching duties are P.E. Football for freshman and P.E. for juniors and seniors.
He is no stranger to St. Thomas, as he worked at the school from 1996-2004.
As the new defensive coordinator, Fitzpatrick has been reunited with Hollas who was his teammate at Rice University. When Fitzpatrick initially heard that Hollas had been named head coach, he knew he had to pay his teammate a congratulatory visit.
“Coach Hollas and I were teammates at Rice, and when I heard he had got the job, I came by to congratulate him,” Fitzpatrick said. “I also dropped hints that I wanted to be here.”
Fitzpatrick’s presence has certainly been felt, as the Eagles have gone from allowing a staggering 41.1 points per game last season to only 25 points per game this season.
With an improving defense comes an improving record as the Eagles’ record has dramatically improved from the last few seasons.
This year’s Fitzpatrick-lead defense has also been a major reason why the Eagles earned a home playoff game. He was a major part of the turnaround of Episcopal’s football program that went from a modest 5-4 record to an amazing 10-1 record and previously mentioned SPC title.
One thing is for sure, Fitzpatrick makes a difference with the players he coaches and has the results to back it up.
Hollas praises Fitzpatrick for the work he has done.
“When I first got the job here, I wanted to hire him but some things needed to be done first,” Hollas said. “A lot of what has happened this season has a lot to do with coach Fitz.”
Fitzpatrick said that there is a lot of promise and a bright future in the young Eagle defense.
“We got the heck beat out of us in the first couple of games,” Fitzpatrick said. “We started some defenders who didn’t have any varsity experience but we do have a bright future. Consistency is the most important thing for us.”
Regarding his unfinished business, Fitzpatrick has the goal of adding numbers to the football championship banner in the gym, a goal he believes the team is close to accomplishing.
“We have a great staff and we have played some solid games,” Fitzpatrick said. “We’ve gotten these kids to believe and find that lost St. Thomas swagger. Everyone starts the playoffs with the same record: 0-0.”