FILE - Northwestern head coach Pat Fitzgerald stands on the sideline during the first half of an NCAA college football game against Michigan, Oct. 23, 2021, in Ann Arbor, Mich. Northwestern has fired Fitzgerald Monday, July 10, 2023, amid a hazing scandal that called into question his leadership of the program and damaged the university's reputation after it mishandled its response to the allegations. (AP Photo/Carlos Osorio, File)

Northwestern Fires Football Head Coach Pat Fitzgerald

Longtime Northwestern football head coach Pat Fitzgerald was fired Monday night. This comes in the wake of hazing allegations within the program.


Coach Fitzgerald said that he had no knowledge of these acts. He was initially suspended for two weeks without pay on Friday after a six month outside investigation of the program.  Then, the school newspaper, “The Daily Northwestern,” released articles on Saturday and Monday morning detailing the allegations from former players. When these articles came to light, Northwestern President Michael Schill announced that the university will move forward from Fitzgerald in a statement Monday night.


“The Daily Northwestern” reported Monday of the news and quoted President Schill. “As much as Fitzgerald has meant to our institution and to our student-athletes, we have an obligation – in fact a responsibility – to live by our values,” Schill said. The hazing included, “forced participation, nudity and sexualized acts of a degrading nature.”

Fitzgerald made contact with his agent and lawyer to make sure his rights are protected.

Career History

Fitzgerald was a former All-American linebacker and two-time Big Ten Defensive Player of the Year for Northwestern from 1993-96. He led the Wildcats to a 10-1 record in 1995 and a Rose Bowl appearance in 1996.

After graduation, Fitzgerald entered the coaching profession, becoming a graduate assistant at Maryland in 1998. He was eventually hired by his alma mater in 2001 as a defensive-backs coach. He took over as head coach in 2006, and he has run the program since. As the head coach, he led the Wildcats to a 110-101 record, 10 bowl games and two Big Ten West Division titles during his tenure. He also signed a 10-year extension in 2021 which would’ve run through the 2030 season.

In 2022, the Wildcats were 1-11 in the regular season, Fitzgerald’s worst record as the team’s head coach.


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