Photos of former Gonzaga men's basketball coach Dan Fitzgerald, who died Tuesday at age 67.
Even before the first words were spoken, the huge crowd at a memorial service for Daniel John Fitzgerald on Wednesday quietly defined the legacy of the beloved former Gonzaga University basketball coach.
In Fitz’s memory, a story about Fitz. Not the best one, not the worst. Dan Fitzgerald never ranked them like a Top 25 anyway, because there were too many for that. He had given up coaching basketball at Gonzaga University to be a full-time athletic director, but he still booked himself on the team’s Bay Area trip – and not just because he grew up the son of a saloonkeeper in San Francisco. The rooming list for the weekend paired him with a sports writer, on the road with the Zags for the first time because the competing staffs of the morning and afternoon papers had just merged and there was all this money to spend, for one season anyway.
He was the godfather not only of Gonzaga University’s remarkable and unprecedented rise as a college basketball power, but of the game itself in Spokane – and a friend to virtually everyone who ever played, coached or watched it. Now Dan Fitzgerald – not only a basketball coach but one of Spokane’s most irrepressible personalities – is gone, dead at the age of 67, after collapsing at an Airway Heights restaurant on Tuesday evening.