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Don Fitzgerald

Football ∙ Ambridge

 

 

 

 

Don Fitzgerald's grid career began to take off as a senior at Ambridge High School. A dependable backup for two years, he had a very strong senior year earning All County status as a punishing runner. A lot of schools noticed and were after Don, who also had an extremely good track and field career with the Bridgers, but he eventually directed his talents to Kent State University. Don's KSU career reads like a virtual storybook. He was the leading rusher on an undefeated freshman team, which has been called the school’s best ever. As a sophomore Don was hurt and missed over half the season but entered the starting lineup upon his return. In his junior season with the Golden Flashes, Don led the nation in rushing for most of the season, only to be edged out in the final game. But his season total of 1245 yards finished second in the NCAA, and Don set national records for carries in a game (47) and a season (296). Don also broke the Mid American Conference record for yards gained and was named All Conference. A preseason All American as a senior, Don had a lingering hamstring pull that limited his effectiveness, but he still gained 891 yards and was again named All Conference. Known as “the Human Hammer” and “Fitz the Blitz”, Don was called “the best big man in the country inside the ten-yard line” by one NFL scout. Drafted in the fourth round by St Louis, Don was eventually signed by the Atlanta Falcons where he played for two years, and then for the Detroit Lions for a year. Don was inducted into the Kent State Hall of Fame in 1986, holding records at the time of his graduation for season and career rushing totals. Don also served as president of the Dallas NFL Alumni Association.