Tennessee has their new strength and conditioning coach. And for the second straight season, he’s been hired away from an NFL team.
According to a report from Aaron Wilson of the Houston Chronicle, Tennessee head coach Jeremy Pruitt has hired Craig Fitzgerald away from the Houston Texas to serve as the Vols’ strength and conditioning coach.
Texans strength and conditioning coach Craig Fitzgerald has resigned and has accepted job as the strength and conditioning coach at the University of Tennessee under new coach Jeremy Pruitt.
— Aaron Wilson (@AaronWilson_NFL) January 6, 2018
Fitzgerald had been with the Texans since the 2014 season and had served as their main director of strength and conditioning all four years there. Before that, Fitzgerald was the director of strength and conditioning for Penn State from 2012-13 and served the same role for South Carolina under Steve Spurrier from 2009-11. So Fitzgerald has experience in the SEC.
Before joining the Gamecocks’ staff, Fitzgerald served as the strength and conditioning coach at Harvard. He was an assistant director of strength and conditioning at his alma mater, the University of Maryland, from 2000-05. There he directed the training for men’s basketball, men’s lacrosse, women’s volleyball, and wrestling, while assisting with the training for football. He played for Maryland from 1994-96.
Butch Jones hired Rock Gullickson to be the team’s strength and conditioning coach for the 2017 season, and Jones hired Gullickson away from the Los Angeles Rams. So this marks the second straight year that the Vols have hired an NFL strength and conditioning coach to serve the same role.
Pruitt decided to part ways with Gullickson shortly after taking the Tennessee head coaching job.
With the hire, Pruitt now just has to find a wide receivers coach and potentially a tight ends coach as well. Otherwise, his staff is all but complete (though none have officially been announced yet).