Father Joseph Fitzgerald, director of vocations for the Diocese of Rockville Centre will be inducted into the Ithaca College Hall of Fame on Saturday, October 21, 2017.
Father Fitzgerald, Ithaca College Class of 1993, will be among a group of ten individuals and two teams that will be comprise the Ithaca College Intercollegiate Athletics 48th Hall of Fame class. The ceremony will take place in the school’s Athletics and Events Center. Ithaca College alumnus and ESPN SportsCenter anchor Kevin Connors will serve as the Master of Ceremonies.
“The Ithaca College Athletics Hall of Fame induction ceremony provides a time for the Bomber family to pause and celebrate our rich tradition of excellence in all sports,” said Susan Bassett, Ithaca College director of intercollegiate athletics and recreational sports. “The 2017 Hall of Fame class represents the best of that tradition and will inspire us all to emulate their outstanding careers and accomplishments.”
Father Fitzgerald played three seasons as a quarterback under Hall-of-Fame coach Jim Butterfield in the early 1990s and was a member of the 1991 national championship team that went 12-1. Father Fitzgerald appeared in 22 games at quarterback, but stepped into the starting role as a senior in 1992. During that 9-2 campaign, Ithaca led all of Division III in rushing offense with 306.5 yards per game and was third in the nation in total offense at 419.9 yards per outing. The Ithaca Bombers eclipsed 40 or more points in six contests and finished the season with an average of 38.6 points per game. As a senior, Fr. Fitzgerald ran for 593 yards and four touchdowns and passed for 845 yards with 11 more scores. He led Ithaca in total offense that season with an average of 143.8 yards/game.
Father Fitzgerald continued his athletic career as a handball player from 1993-2004 on the US National Team after graduating from Ithaca. On the world stage, Father Fitzgerald competed in the 1996 Olympics Games in Atlanta. He was named the USA Team Handball Athlete of the year in 2001 and was on the Pan-American Team in 1999 and 2003. Father Fitzgerald also played one year professionally in Sweden.
Born in Bay Ridge, Brooklyn, Father Fitzgerald was raised in Saint Joseph’s parish, Babylon – a product of Catholic elementary school. He was a standout athlete at North Babylon High School before attending Ithaca College from 1989-1993 . His Olympic and National Team experience allowed him to travel the world to over 60 countries where he experienced the true meaning of our Catholic (universal) faith while attending Mass in each country.
The Eucharist and the Blessed Mother (as well as many prayers from his own Mother) kept him close to his faith and eventually inspired and led him to enter the seminary in August of 2001. He was ordained on June 9, 2007 and spent two years serving at St. Kilian parish in Farmingdale, four years as the chaplain at Holy Trinity Diocesan High School and Hofstra University and is currently the diocesan vocations director.