Space Coast Sports Hall of Fame’s Fidgi Haig’s Influence On Soccer In Brevard Legendary
By Space Coast Daily // September 26, 2013
SPACE COAST SPORTS HALL OF FAME
ABOVE VIDEO: Space Coast Soccer icon Fidgi Haig was inducted into the Space Coast Sports Hall of Fame in 2013 for his outstanding career at Florida Tech, as well as his legendary coaching at Satellite High School. (Video aired in 2013)
FIDGI HAIG – 2013 INDUCTEE
• Collegiate National Champion
• Florida Tech Hall of Famer
• National Youth Soccer Coach of the Year
LEAD TECH TO NATIONAL SOCCER TITLE
Former Florida Tech women’s soccer head coach Fitzgerald “Fidgi” Haig made a lasting impact on the Brevard community through the people he touched on and off the soccer field.
Haig coached the Panthers for 10 seasons, guiding them to the program’s first NCAA Division II South Region Championship and a Final Four appearance in 2010.
He also played soccer for four years at FIT and helped the men’s team win the program’s first NCAA Division II National Championship in 1988.
Twenty-six years after helping lead the Panthers men’s soccer team to its first Division II National Championship in 1988, Haig led the women’s program before his untimely death in 2015.
Haig, originally from Port Au-Prince, Haiti, added another honor to his career in 2013 when he was inducted into the Space Coast Sports Hall of Fame.
“I was very flattered,” Haig said in 2013.
“This came a week after I was inducted into the Florida Institute of Technology Sports Hall of Fame so the feeling was doubled. I feel privileged to be inducted alongside the other members of this class.”
In 58 games for the Panthers, he scored 45 goals and handed out 18 assists for 108 points as a forward from 1987-90. When Tech needed him, Haig always rose to the occasion as he helped the Panthers claim its first men’s soccer national title with the game’s first goal in a 3-2 win over California-State Northridge.
Haig scored a career-high 16 goals his freshman season to lead the entire Sunshine State Conference. In 1988, he lead the team with 14 goals. He was a two-time all-region and all-state player and was selected All-Sunshine State Conference three times in four years.
Before Haig came back to lead the Panthers as a coach, he had a nine-year run from 1996 – 2005 as the head coach of the Satellite High School women’s soccer program that went down as one of the best in Florida women’s soccer history.
In that time, Haig led the Scorpions to back-to-back Class 3A state championships in 2002 and 2003.
The 2002 squad, which featured over a dozen Division 1 players, including 2012 SCSHOF inductee Ashlyn Harris and new 2013 inductee Courtney Baines-Lundy, beat a St. Thomas Aquinas team that hadn’t been scored upon all season.
The Scorpions won seven Cape Coast Conference championships and appeared in the Class 3A state championship game four times under Haig. His record of 231 wins – 18 losses – eight ties produced a .941 winning percentage that is still ranked fourth all-time in the USA.
Haig earned numerous Coach of the Year honors in high school but none were bigger than when he was named the United States Youth Soccer Adidas National Coach of the Year in 2005.
Danielle Keath, who scored 167 goals from 1999 – 2001 for the Scorpions before playing at Louisiana State University for four years called Fidgi the best coach she’s ever played for.
“Almost everything I know about the game, I learned from Fidgi,” Keath said. “He believed in every single person. He was always willing to point every girl in the right direction.”
‘I LOVE THIS GAME’
Haig took the Florida Tech Panthers program to new heights. From 2005-14, he became the program’s all-time winningest head coach with an overall record of 97-59-26. His teams earned a trip to the NCAA Division II Championship five times and were Sunshine State Conference Co-Champions during their historic run in 2010.
The Panthers reached its first-ever Final Four in 2010 and in 2011, and hit No. 1 in the Division II national rankings for the first time in school history. However, for Haig, he doesn’t measure his career in wins and losses. It’s the impact off the field and down the road that is most rewarding for him.
“For me, every year coaching has been special,” Haig said in 2013. “I do it because I love the game and being around so many great athletes. These girls challenge me every day.”
“It was never about chasing trophies. I used soccer as a tool to teach them about working hard and playing together as a team. With the bond and friendships that I’ve made over the years, it’s so rewarding to see how successful many of them have gone on to be down the road.”
Sadly, in April of 2015, Fidgi Haig passed away from natural causes at age 47 .
His death was a shock to many who knew him and who were close to him, including Space Coast Daily’s own Giles Malone.
“My association with “Fidgi” Fitzgerald Haig spanned almost three decades – a time of magnificent sporting achievement – but, above all, of the very best friendship,” said Malone.
“His passing has left a huge hole in my life and following is my story of how I first met Fidgi – which was a great moment in my life. It will always resonate with me – as I am sure it will with all that knew him.”
Then-Athletic Director Bill Jurgens, now retired, also considered Haig a very close friend and knew he was special when he first hired him.
“Like many, I lost a dear friend,” Jurgens said in 2015.
“Fidgi had a tremendous impact on our women’s soccer program, university and the entire community. He has left a rich legacy that will be evident for many years to come. He always put the university first and his love for being here could be seen on a daily basis.”
Former Florida Tech President Anthony J. Catanese echoed Jurgens’ sentiments.
“The magnitude of Coach Fidgi Haig’s positive impact on this university and this community cannot be calculated,” said then-Florida Tech President and CEO Anthony J. Catanese, at the time of Haig’s passing in 2015.
“An outstanding coach, mentor and friend to so many, he will be deeply missed. We grieve with his family during this difficult time. His loss leaves us saddened, yet grateful that we were able to count Fidgi a member of the Florida Tech family for so many years.”
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