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Former Marist assistant takes over football program at St. Francis

Published: Monday, Feb. 24, 2014 10:56 a.m. CDT • Updated: Monday, Feb. 24, 2014 11:00 a.m. CDT

St. Francis High School announced on Monday that Mike Fitzgerald has been hired to take over the football program.

He replaces Greg Purnell, who retired after leading the Spartans to a 47-26 record and a state championship in his seven seasons.

Fitzgerald comes to Wheaton from Marist High School where he has been the offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach for the past six years. He has also coached at Lake Forest College and Carroll College (WI).

Last fall, Marist eclipsed 5,000 yards of total offense.

“I really enjoyed my time at Marist and that’s one of the reasons I was attracted to a school like St. Francis," Fitzgerald said in a press release. "Both schools not only challenge their students academically and athletically, but they put a premium on character development. I can’t wait to get started and become a part of the St. Francis family."

As a player at Lake Forest College, Mike led the team to its highest win total in school history. As the team captain, they claimed their first conference championship in 20 years, which qualified them for their first ever NCAA playoff appearance.

“Mike’s coming from a great program and institution," St. Francis Athletic Director Dan Hardwick said in a release. "You can’t ask for a better mentor in [Marist Head Coach] Pat Dunne. We’re extremely excited to have Coach Fitzgerald on board with us here at St. Francis. He runs such exciting systems that I know our players will be enthusiastic to work hard and play for him.

"Mike really fits the mission and vision of St. Francis and I couldn't be happier to welcome him into our family. He will be very successful here."

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