Ottawa Lions Mourn the Loss of Former Coach

A Come and Go Memorial Service will be held Tuesday, October 30, 2018 at 7:00 p.m. at Rosthern Station Arts Centre, 701 Railway Ave., Rosthern, SK, for John Fitzgerald, a former coach with the club who passed away suddenly on Friday at the age of 67.

Fitzgerald spent more than two decades working with Lions athletes in both distance and race walk events, where he led them to succeed both on and off the track. One of his athletes even competed at the IAAF World Cross Country Championships in 1978, and he was a key contributor in the back-to-back National Championship teams that were produced from the University of Ottawa in 1986 and 1987.

Ann Peel was John’s star pupil, competing in the race walk and earning 12 national Championships under his leadership. She was the first club member to win a World Championship medal and both Peel and Fitzgerald were inducted into Athletics Canada’s Hall of Fame for their achievements, just earlier this year.

“John was the most significant person in my life for 20 years while he coached, guided, nudged and pushed me to achieve as an athlete and as a person,” said Ann Peel to Athletics Canada after learning about Fitzgerald’s passing. “John’s magic was that he understood that who you were as a person mattered more than what you achieved. Without the pressure of outcomes, his athletes thrived and accomplished great things.”

You can read more about Fitzgerald’s career with the club here.

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