Local coach chosen for Hall of Fame

Mike Fitzgerald has filled various positions at Skyline for more than two decades. (Liezl Laurel)

Mike Fitzgerald has filled various positions at Skyline for more than two decades. (Liezl Laurel)

Michael Fitzgerald is one of five local athletes that were inducted into Pacifica’s Sports Hall of Fame in a ceremony at the Grosvenor Hotel in South San Francisco on Feb. 26.

Fitzgerald was chosen for his service to the community in Pacifica, where he has lived for the last 30 years, and for teaching at Skyline College for last 25 years.

Fitzgerald said that being inducted is definitely an honor for him, but at the same time, it was not as joyous a moment as it could have been.

“It is bittersweet,” he said before the ceremony. “My wife of 30 years passed away a year ago and I wanted her to be with me. She always said if I ever got inducted into this hall of fame, she would want to be there with me.”

Former Skyline journalism teacher Sam Goldman was chosen to be the master of ceremonies at the induction event, which began 6:00 p.m. and was followed by an awards dinner.

This isn’t Fitzgerald’s first time being a hall of fame inductee; he was inducted into the Skyline Athletics Hall of Fame in 1986 for playing tennis in the seventies.

Before coaching, Fitzgerald played tennis competitively for seven years. When he played at Skyline, he was ranked the top tennis player and named the team’s most valuable player. Fitzgerald won the Pacifica City Championships in Men’s Tennis in singles and doubles.

After playing tennis at Skyline, Fitzgerald returned as a coach for a variety of sports. In his 25 years of coaching, he has taught tennis, badminton, volleyball, self defense, flag football, softball, weight training, women’s conditioning, spinning, stretching, walking, and running. Fitzgerald also taught tennis at El Camino and Serramonte High Schools. At Capuchino High School he taught women’s flag football, track and softball.

At Skyline, Fitzgerald was the coach of the men’s and women’s cross country teams for six years. The women’s team placed third in the Northern California Regional competition after claiming victory in the Coast Conference championships in 2000.

Fitzgerald is a member of the United States Professional Tennis Association. He placed fifth in the nation last year in a seminar contest. He recently won a Northern California conference title to compete in the finals which will be held in Florida later this year.

Right now, Fitzgerald is the sports department head for Pacifica Parks, Beaches, and Recreation.

The Pacifica Sports Club, which started its hall of fame in 1990, has been around for 20 years and, after this year’s ceremony, will have inducted 92 people into the hall.

Horace Hinshaw, the president of the Pacifica Sports Club, says that the hall of fame is just another avenue to showcase and say thanks to local sports figures who have brought recognition to their community.

“It can be a coach, a player, an administrator, or even a news media personality,” Hinshaw said, “As long as they have ties with Pacifica and have excelled in an area of sports.”

Every year, the same committee of the Pacifica Sports Club looks over nominees and candidates. They compile candidate nominations from people who have sent in letters to the Pacifica Tribune and from an annual candidacy form the Tribune runs every February. The event is held on the last Saturday in February of every year.

Most people that are in the hall of fame are well known throughout the county, the Bay Area, the local community or even nationally.

“We have some athletes that have been to the Olympic Games in the hall of fame,” Hinshaw said. “[The people] in the hall of fame have all brought their skills to the next level and are recognized for their achievements.”

Besides Fitzgerald, there are two other athletes that have been inducted into both the Skyline College’s and Pacifica’s halls of fame: John Moreno and Geri Lepeltak.