The Bulldogs salute coach Fitzgerald

Coach Brian Fitzgerald is honored after his final game
Coach Fitzgerld with his 2018 Bulldogs and also Dawgs from the past

Jeremy Beasley– a Bulldog pitcher and 1st baseman from 2011- 2014- played college baseball at Darton College and Clemson. He is the only player who played for coach Brian Fitzgerald who was drafted and has played professional baseball. Jeremy is in his second season as a starting pitcher for the Burlington Bees of the Class Midwest League.

“Well, I would say that he (coach Fitzgerald) is the reason that I’m a hard nosed person. He taught me that a good work ethic will take you to higher places and that with a Bulldog mentality anything is possible. He was the best coach I’ve ever had and if it wasn’t for him I wouldn’t have been able to handle the hardships of college baseball and now pro ball. I’m proud to say that he gave me a chance to prove myself to everyone and I can never repay him for that. He was a players coach and one of the best developmental coaches I know. I can’t thank him enough for all of the hard work he put into Toombs County because no one will understand the love he has for the game. He’s one of the best and I wish him luck in the future.” Jeremy Beasley

 

Berry Aldridge- was a Bulldog catcher from 2009- 2012. He played college baseball and was a starting catcher for Division 2 Armstrong State of the Peach Belt Conference. Berry is still involved in the sport. He works in the front office of the Savannah Banana’s.

“I thoroughly enjoyed playing for Fitz. He did a ton to further my development as a player and as a leader behind the plate. As a coach, Fitz was straightforward, direct and firm but was a ‘players’ coach through and through. He would defend his guys to the end, right or wrong. As a player, knowing your coach will fight for you means so much. Perhaps even more important than any lesson on the field though was the way Fitz showed us and taught us how to ‘flip the switch’ and leave what happened during the game on the field. I distinctly remember getting chewed out at practice around 4:30 and then playing scrabble, laughing and eating dinner with him and his family just a few hours later. That is the lesson that helped me most in college and even professionally.” Berry Aldridge

 

Nick Hayes is a Bulldog who not only played for coach Fitzgerald, but he also is a member of his coaching staff. Nick works with the pitchers and calls the pitches during the game.

“Brian Fitzgerald is one of the reasons that the game of baseball was and is such a great experience for me. He is a staple in the community and school’s athletic program. I had the pleasure of playing for him in his first 4 year class. As a coach he was demanding, available and knowledgeable. He was gritty and his passion for the game carried over into his players. Having the opportunity to come back and be apart of his staff is one of the highlights of my career. Best of all I learned in my playing days, we think very similar about the game, this makes it easy for us to work well together. As a member of his staff I have come to appreciate him even more, throwing Long BP sessions without ever complaining, his ability to make in game adjustments, taking every single loss personal and his love for kids playing the game the right way. TCHS BASEBALL WILL NOT BE THE SAME WITHOUT THE OUTSPOKEN YANKEE FROM FLORIDA WHO WEARS 31 IN THE 3rd BASE COACHES BOX ! TIP OF THE CAP FROM ALL OF US FITZ!” Nick Hayes

 

Chuck Hill- played for coach Fitzgerald when he was both an assistant and a head coach. Chuck was a pitcher and an outfielder and later joined coach Fitzgerald’s staff as an assistant coach. Chuck was also the head basketball coach at Toombs County and now he is the head boys basketball coach at West Laurens.

“Playing for Coach Fitz was a great experience. With him and Coach Harrelson there was never a dull moment. I have many memories of playing for him. They range from sarcastic comments that were hilarious to being ejected out of a game at Bleckley County and having to sit on the bus. Every mound visit during a game from Fitz was great, especially if he was angry with the umpires. He is a true competitor. Playing for him was great but working along side of him was even better. I began to see the heart of Coach Fitz and his passion for people. He is a man of strong faith and family values, and it has been awesome to see him grow in that aspect. He now officiates many basketball games that I coach and I make sure to give him a hard time whenever he makes a call against my team. Coach Fitzgerald has had a huge impact on the success of the baseball program at Toombs County High School. I know that he has great plans ahead for he and his family. I am grateful for all he has done for me and for Toombs County athletics. Love ya Fitz!” Chuck Hill

 

Bradley Benton- was an outfielder for the Toombs County Bulldogs. He also was a two-time state championship wrestler and he later became the head wrestling coach for his alma mater.

“Playing for Fitz was a great experience in my life. He made baseball very very fun. He and I personally shared a tight bond. He was a great mentor to me and I continue to value his one of a kind humor and personality. Of all the many things I love about Fitz, I loved that he was never afraid to take a chance, he believed in his players, and he always had a knack for beating Vidalia and just winning in general. He will be loved and missed by many. Thanks for all of the memories Fitz! Love you brother! -Buck” Bradley Benton

 

Hank Aldridge- was a Hall of Fame head coach at Swainsboro High. He joined coach Fitzgerald’s staff as an assistant coach and worked with a Bulldog pitching staff which had a very low ERA.

“Enjoyed my days with Coach Fitzgerald
Good opportunity to get to really know him
He is on of the best coaches at managing a game
Calling pitches and changing eye level on batters
One of the best speakers I’ve heard when the need arises
Thanks for all you have done with players but more importantly the love you show for your daughters
Congrats on retirement”
Your friend,
Coach Aldridge

If you would like to add a salute to coach Fitzgerald please send to barney@toombsnow.com

Coach Fitzgerald and Jared Allen
Coach Fitzgerald and Logan McGowan
Coach Fitzgerald and Nick Curtis
Coach Fitzgerald and Lane Adams
Coach Fitzgerald and Chuck Hill
Coach Fitzgerald and the Brantleys- Dirk and Kirk
Coach Fitzgerald and Berry Aldridge
The catchers pose at the plate- Cole Graham and Brian Fitzgerald who was a catcher in high school and college