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Editorial: Marist Football is on the Rise

Why the RedHawks are primed and ready for an outstanding season to come
Coach Mike Fitzgerald returns to Marist as head football coach
Coach Mike Fitzgerald returns to Marist as head football coach

Marist High School football had a down season last year, going 4-5 in the regular season while missing the IHSA class 8A state playoff. Marist had their first losing season since the 2014 season. Many Marist students and people around Marist were very disappointed with the team’s performance. However, I think Marist football will be great next season and in the near future. 

First, Marist got a new head coach, Mike Fitzgerald, who has an imposing resume. He started at Marist from 2008 to 2013 as an offensive coordinator, holding a record of 50-19 in those six years. 

Then he left to be the head coach at St Francis High School from 2014-2015, winning 15 games in 2 seasons. After that, he moved on to Naperville North as an offensive coordinator and went 14-6 during the 2016-2017 seasons. 

He has been at York High School from 2018-2023, going 43-17, leading them to their first undefeated season in 2022. He also took them to back-to-back state semifinals for the first time in the program’s history.

Fitzgerald has taken schools that were not notoriously known for winning in football to state championship contenders. He is known as one of the best offensive minds and quarterback coaches in the state. 

I polled 36 Marist students and faculty members, and 44 percent of them agreed that Coach Fitzgerald’s resume is excellent. 

Another reason to expect success is that Fitzgerald has brought a new energy into the building. Being a football player and attending the off-season workouts, I have seen this firsthand. He is really trying to build on the things that our Marist Football program is all about. The biggest thing I have seen is him trying to enforce discipline. 

“You’re always faced with two choices: one makes you better, while the other makes you worse. It’s up to you to pick,” said Fitzgerald. 

Marist will also be excellent next year because of their young team this year. Most of the starters were juniors and even some sophomores with little to no varsity football experience. It felt like this year was a setup year. I think the team’s goal was to try and develop all of the juniors and sophomores so our team could be great next year.

Thirty percent of Marist students think that we are going to be good next year, getting about seven wins, while 28 percent think we are going to be great, getting eight or nine wins in the regular season. 

Marist High School is very lucky to have Coach Fitzgerald join this amazing coaching staff and excellent football team. He was very successful in his first run here at Marist, and I don’t think anything will change in his second run. He has made some of the best high school programs in the state, and everywhere he goes, he has brought success. Look out for Marist to make a statement next fall. 

What current Marist students think how our football team is going to do next yearCoach Dawczak’s legendary career 

It would feel wrong while welcoming Coach Fitzgerald not to recognize Coach Dawczak and the amazing things he has done for our football program.

In the seven years he coached Marist, he led our team to a 42-18 record in the regular season, with a 12-5 record in the playoffs. He holds the most wins in the program’s history. He also took our team to the playoffs five out of the seven years he coached (there were no playoffs in 2020), taking us to the state semi finals three out of the five years. Players have also been very successful under Dawczak as he as sent 69 players on to play college football (an estimate from the players this past season.)

Coach Dawczak is stepping down from the head coaching spot to take care of his family which at this point in his life is the right move for him. He will continue to teach at Marist.

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About the Contributor
Eddie Dougherty
Eddie Dougherty, Journalism and Media 1 Writer
My name is Eddie Dougherty and I am a freshman here at Marist. I graduated from Saint Alexander and I play football and baseball. I love playing and watching sports. I definitely see myself taking a career in sports.

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