Delane Fitzgerald - Head Coach
DeLane Fitzgerald enters his sixth season at the helm of the Frostburg football team entering 2019 and is the program’s winningest coach with 41 victories. He is also the program’s all-time leader in win percentage (.745) and boasts the fewest number of losses of any coach in the 58-year history of the program who coached at least five years.
The Bobcats have posted one of the best three-year runs in DIII football as they won 31 games during that span, with two trips to the NCAA Playoffs in 2017 and 2018 and an ECAC Bowl Game victory following the 2016 season. FSU spent the entire ’17 and ’18 seasons ranked inside the top-25 polls, while the 11-win campaign in 2017 is a school record for wins. Frostburg has defeated five ranked opponents since the start of the 2016 season and six ranked opponents during his five seasons.
The Bobcats close their run at NCAA Division III with three-straight 10-plus win seasons and three-consecutive Regents Cup trophies. FSU boasted 44 All-NJAC selections, 10 All-Region honorees and six All-American awards over the last three years.
Last fall, the Bobcats hosted a pair of NCAA Playoffs games for the first time in program history, finished the season ranked eighth in the AFCA poll, posted the first undefeated regular-season in program history (9-0) and won the NJAC Title for the second time in three seasons. FSU opened the playoffs with a dominating 42-24 win over Western New England at Bobcat Stadium.
In 2017, The Bobcats captured a program record 11 wins (11-2) that included NCAA Playoff victories over No. 9 Wittenberg (35-7) and No. 10 Washington & Jefferson (46-23). Frostburg captured second in the NJAC standings (8-1), scored a school record 468 points and tied a school record with 13-straight wins that started in the 2016 season. The season marked FSU’s first trip to the NCAA Playoffs since 1993 and the first appearance in the quarterfinals since the playoffs expanded to 32 teams.
Statistically speaking over the last three seasons, Frostburg has been one of the most impressive teams in DIII. Last fall, the Bobcats finished 39th in the country in total offense (435.9), while in 2016, the Bobcat defense was ninth in total defense as it limited opponents to just 240.6 yards per game. In 2018, FSU was second in the country with five blocked punts. Frostburg has ranked near the top of the NCAA statistics in blocked kicks in every year he’s been at the helm.
Four different players have garnered six All-American honors since 2016 and Fitzgerald has twice been named the NJAC Coach of the Year.
The 2016 team concluded the season with nine-straight wins and a 10-1 overall record. At the time, it was just the second Bobcat team to record 10 wins in a season and the first team since 1990 to win nine straight.
Frostburg earned a spot in the Eastern College Athletic Conference’s (ECAC) Asa S. Bushnell Bowl Game against 22nd-ranked St. John Fisher on November 19, 2016 at historic Franklin Field. The 24th-ranked Bobcats dominated the contest, earning a 38-14 victory and limiting St. John Fisher to -26 yards on the ground. The Bobcats also posted 10 sacks in the win.
Fitzgerald continued the upward trend of his program in 2015 after he led his Bobcats to a 6-4 overall record, including a 5-4 mark in their first year in the New Jersey Athletic Conference. The six wins mark the most for Frostburg in a season since 2005.
FSU totaled nine All-NJAC honorees, including the league’s Special Teams and Rookie of the Year awards. Frostburg also collected numerous D3football.com All-Region and ECAC All-Star honors.
In his first season, Fitzgerald led the Bobcats to a 4-6 overall record, the most wins since 2011. Frostburg finished 2-6 in its final season as a member of the Empire 8 Athletic Conference that included a 38-37 double overtime upset of 25th-ranked Ithaca at Bobcat Stadium on Homecoming. The Bobcats capped the season with four All-Empire 8 selections, three on defense, and a USA College Football All-American.
Fitzgerald was a speaker for the Atlantic Central Football Conference (ACFC) in 2014 and was an AFCA Coaching Mentor in both 2014 and 2015.
Fitzgerald came to Frostburg after coaching at Southern Virginia University for eight years from 2006-2013, including the last five as the program's head coach. He was tasked with turning around the Knights that averaged just two wins per year over the program's history.
Fitzgerald, who had 24 wins in five seasons at the helm of Southern Virginia, helped the Knights set the single-season school record for wins twice. In 2013, he led SVU to a program-best 8-2 record behind a six-game winning streak. The Knights finished the season ranked No. 1 in the final United States Collegiate Athletic Association coaches' poll.
In 2012, he led the Knights to a 5-6 overall record, the third highest single-season total. As the offensive coordinator in 2007, Fitzgerald helped the team a 6-5 record, a then school record. That same season, the Knights set school marks in rushing, passing, total offense and points scored and finished seventh in the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA) in total offense (474.3 yards per game).
Prior to Southern Virginia, Fitzgerald served for one season as offensive coordinator at NAIA-affiliated Bethel University (Tenn.), helping the Wildcats to a 7-4 overall record and the 2005 Mid-South Conference Western Division Championship. Fitzgerald's offense ranked fourth in the NAIA in total offense (453.8), third in rushing offense (272.8), seventh in pass efficiency rating (140.2) and 10th in third-down conversion percentage (43.1%).
Fitzgerald served for two years on the football staff at the University of Tennessee Martin in 2003-04 as the special teams coordinator and running backs coach. Prior to UTM, he coached at James Madison University for the 2002 season. The Dukes posted a 5-7 overall record, but laid the ground work for JMU's NCAA I-AA National Championship two seasons later.
Fitzgerald got his coaching start at the Bridgton Academy in North Bridgton, Maine from 2000-01, serving as the school's defensive coordinator.
His collegiate football playing career started at Potomac State College from 1995-96. As a sophomore, he was named Team Captain and was a Lough Award and Student-Athlete Award winner. After PSC, Fitzgerald transferred to James Madison for the 1997-1999 seasons. He helped lead JMU to an 8-4 record in '99 with a spot in the NCAA Playoffs and a share of the Atlantic 10 Championship. He was twice selected to the Academic All-Atlantic 10 team and was the John David Kraus Award Winner as a senior at JMU.
Fitzgerald received his bachelor's degree in kinesiology from James Madison in 1999. In 2012, he earned his master's degree in education from Bethel University.
Fitzgerald and his wife Kim have three daughters - Mattie (18), Afton (9) and Laila (7).