Wrestling Room Dedicated to Former Coach, Hall of Famer

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The Hampton Bays School District paid tribute to former head wrestling coach, physical education teacher and National Hall of Famer Mike Fitzgerald by dedicating the high school’s wrestling room in his name at a ribbon cutting ceremony on Jan. 6.

One by one, those who were trained by the celebrated coach stood to speak kind words, referring to Mr. Fitzgerald as a passionate and inspiring man who taught his students not only wrestling skills, but also life lessons.

“He was a mentor, a father figure and a friend,” said John Tobin, a 1981 graduate of Hampton Bays.

Superintendent of Schools Lars Clemensen said Mr. Fitzgerald stands as a hallmark of the Hampton Bays community.  “He is a symbol of who we are — a critical piece of the fabric of Hampton Bays,” said Mr. Clemensen.

Mr. Fitzgerald, who wrestled in high school and college, taught physical education in Hampton Bays from 1974-2001 and served as head coach of the wrestling team for 26 years with his teams maintaining an impressive 205-127-3 record. He was inducted into the National Wrestling Hall of Fame in 2011.

Also during the ceremony, Jerry Seckler of Friends of Long Island Wrestling, presented the Hampton Bays School District with a duplicate copy of Mr. Fitzgerald’s Hall of Fame plaque to hang in the high school lobby. Southampton Town Supervisor Anna Throne-Holst and Councilman Brad Bender additionally presented Fitzgerald with a proclamation, declaring Jan. 6 Mike Fitzgerald Day in the Town of Southampton.