Had Hall-of-Fame Career as Player, Coach for Florida Tech
MELBOURNE, FLA. – Florida Tech head women’s soccer coach Fidgi Haig passed away from natural causes on Thursday at 47 years old.
“The magnitude of Coach Fidgi Haig’s positive impact on this university and this community cannot be calculated,” said Florida Tech President and CEO Anthony. J. Catanese. “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.”
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.
“Like many, I have lost a dear friend,” Athletics Director Bill Jurgens said. “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.”
Haig took the women’s soccer program to new heights after being named head coach following its second season. 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.
He first arrived at FIT as a men’s soccer player in 1987. He went on to play four seasons for the Panthers, earning all-region, all-state and All-SSC honors. Haig scored 45 goals and assisted 18 for 108 points in his career. He had a tendency of rising to the occasion. He found the back of the net in the Panthers’ 3-2 win over Cal State Northridge in the 1988 NCAA Division II National Championship and scored a goal in two separate NCAA Division II South Region Championship games. A native of Haiti, he graduated from FIT with his business administration degree in 1992.
Before returning to FIT to take over the women’s soccer program, Haig was a very accomplished head coach at Satellite High School from 1996-2005. His teams were among the most dominant in the state, winning two state championships in four appearances, seven conference titles and five district championships. He mounted an astonishing record of 231-18-8 for a .914 winning percentage. He was awarded numerous coach of the year awards, including the 2005 United States Youth Adidas Soccer National Coach of the Year. He has coached several NCAA National Champions along with former and current U.S. National Team members.
A member of the Florida Tech Sports Hall of Fame and Space Coast Sports Hall of Fame, Haig also had a tremendous impact in club soccer. He coached in Indialantic, with Florida Select, the Olympic Development boys team, Space Coast United Soccer Club and the Orlando City Youth Soccer Club.
Dustin Smith, Haig’s assistant coach for the past five seasons, will become the Panther women’s soccer program’s interim head coach.
The team is concluding its spring season this week. The Panthers will celebrate Haig’s impact on them and the soccer program in their annual Alumni Game, scheduled for Saturday at 7 p.m. at Rick Stottler Field. Admission is free.
Funeral arrangements are as follows: Visitation 5-8 p.m. Monday, April 20, at the Brownlie-Maxwell Funeral Home in Melbourne. A Mass of the Resurrection will be celebrated at 11 a.m. Tuesday, April 21, at Holy Name of Jesus Catholic Church in Indialantic.