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Fitzgerald named Notre Dame volleyball head coach


By Jordon Lawrenz

Contributing Writer

GREEN BAY – For the fourth time in four years, the Notre Dame Academy (NDA) volleyball team has brought in a new head coach.

Chris Fitzgerald will be taking over head coaching duties after serving as the JV1 coach last season.

The Tritons recently won state championships in girls’ basketball and boys’ hockey, so Notre Dame Athletic Director Matthew Koenig knows that the program is built on a winning culture. 

“Four coaches in four years definitely isn’t an ideal situation, but for different reasons that happens. The good thing is that Coach Fitzgerald has been here for the last three years as a JV coach, so he is very familiar with the program and the athletes on the team.” Koenig said. 

This will be Chris Fitzgerald’s first head coaching experience at the varsity level.

Fitzgerald’s journey didn’t begin in Wisconsin, however;  it began in Iowa. 

“I first got into coaching volleyball while I was at Waldorf University in Forest City, Iowa. I played baseball my first three years, and my last year I couldn’t because I was unable to student-teach and play at the same time.” Fitzgerald added, “The head volleyball coach asked me to assist with the program. I learned so much from her in regards to teaching the game.” 

After gaining some experience with an NAIA school, Fitzgerald made his way back to Wisconsin.

“I was an assistant at Appleton North and was a practice coach at St. Norbert before working with the JV at Notre Dame in the spring of 2021,” he said.

Some of Fitzgerald’s hobbies include writing, social media and being around the volleyball community.

Those hobbies linked perfectly together to a website, Prep Dig.

Prep Dig is a high school volleyball outlet covering teams across the United States.

Fitzgerald began writing for them in 2018, which quickly turned into a full-time offering. 

“Initially, I thought coaching and Prep Dig would be a conflict of interest. We’re at a point now where I don’t write about Wisconsin athletes very often. I write nationally and cover a lot of Illinois and Iowa athletes,” he said.

Writing only goes so far, but Fitzgerald discussed missing the camaraderie.

“I get to meet a lot of great people in the volleyball world and have learned so much in my time at Prep Dig. However, I have missed being part of a team and community where I’m so glad I get to be a part of the NDA community and lead this team,” he added.

The decision to hire Fitzgerald was an easy one for Koenig.

“When our last coaching change happened, I met with Chris and Chris only because I knew he was ready for the position. He almost applied a year earlier but didn’t feel like he could commit to the position with his Prep Dig obligations,” Koenig stated.

Koenig and Fitzgerald first met in 2020, one year prior to Fitzgerald first joining the JV2 squad.

At the end of the day, Koenig described the situation as, “I felt like he was a diamond in the rough candidate that when the time was right he would be ours.”

Fitzgerald went from JV2 to JV1 to varsity in the span of three years.

Along with that, he’s been participating in all levels of the summer camps, so he’s taken the time to get to know each of the NDA athletes. 

“Notre Dame has all the pieces to be a top tier program in the state, and I’m looking forward to working with the families to get to that position. We have started open gyms, have a spring clinic coming up and our summer calendar is together.” Fitzgerald added. 

With spring sports taking center stage, volleyball will be back in no time.

“With hiring Chris, we will not miss a beat. He brings the needed stability, and he has been preparing for a few months for the summer and next fall,” Koenig said.

“Fitzgerald is well respected by a lot of coaches around the state so he is motivated to make our program even more well-known. He has already been creative with changing-up the schedule by putting our team in a position to play the best competition. We have always had a competitive schedule, but Chris had the thought of changing things up even more. I know Chris will give everything he has to guide our program.”

“I’m really excited for the group we have coming in and what these athletes can establish for not only this season, but lay the foundation for future athletes in the NDA volleyball program,” Fitzgerald said.

“We have some strong tournaments on our schedule, and I’m excited to see what our athletes can do against the top teams in the state.

“I feel very fortunate to be in this position at Notre Dame. There is a high standard at NDA and the same will be said for our volleyball program.”

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