Dakota Fitzsimmons did not have to travel far to find his first coaching opportunity at college level. Fitzsimmons, current running back coach of the Maryville College football team, grew up just down the road from MC in Greenback, Tenn.
Fitzsimmons attended Maryville city schools from kindergarten through 11th grade. At that point, he transferred to Greenback High School. At Greenback, he played football, baseball and basketball.
After graduation, he began his coaching career and spent a year assisting the coach on the same team he once played on. Once he had obtained this position, Fitzsimmons decided it would be best to stay close, and he attended Pellissippi State Community College, so he could go to school and coach at the same time.
After coaching one year at Greenback, Fitzsimmons wanted to get into college coaching. In the fall of 2011, he was hired as a graduate assistant at Maryville and worked as the tight ends coach. Now the running back coach, Fitzsimmons feels more comfortable, but he is happy doing whatever is asked of him.
“I loved coaching the tight ends,” Fitzsimmons said. “Personally I like running backs better, but they are both great.”
Fitzsimmons also helps with film and other off-field duties to relieve some of the pressure on the full-time coaches. Off of the field and outside of MC football, Fitzsimmons enjoys other sports, as well. He enjoys playing in a flag football church league, participates in pickup games of basketball and softball. Outside of sports, Fitzsimmons is very active in his church and considers it an important part of his life. Fitzsimmons always had dreams of coaching, even as he was growing up as a child.
“I always kind of wanted to be a coach growing up,” Fitzsimmons said. “I knew this was something I wanted to do.”
Fitzsimmons loves the “x’s and o’s” of football. He says he enjoys the film study and the preparation it takes to be successful as a team. However, not only does he enjoy the strategic aspect, he also enjoys making an impact on the young men he is coaching. He likes being able to have the opportunity to help young guys become men, and he hopes he has an impact on the players’ lives off the field by being a good role model.
“I hope I bring a side of me to football that is not just a coach,” Fitzsimmons said. “Hopefully, [the players] see a guy that lives for God and tries to do the right things to help the kingdom of God build.” After receiving his degree from Pellissippi, Fitzsimmons wants to continue his climb to the higher ranks of coaching. Even though he loves MC and is happy now, his ultimate goal is to get a coaching job at a more prominent college and continue to work up the coaching ladder.