On the heels of a successful 7-2 season with an appearance in the Big Ten Championship Game, Northwestern has afforded coach Pat Fitzgerald the opportunity to remain with the university for much, much longer. On Wednesday, the school announced the two sides have agreed to a new 10-year contract that will take Fitzgerald through the 2030 season.
“We have one of the best coaches in college football and, more importantly, a leader uncommonly suited to this University,” said athletic director Jim Phillips in a statement. “Over the course of his tenure, Coach Fitzgerald has built a culture of unwavering belief in excellence both on and off the field, and led our Wildcats to unprecedented sustained success. They boast incredible achievement in the classroom, in the community and in competition, and will for years to come.”
According to Pete Thamel of Yahoo Sports, Fitzgerald was contacted by “multiple” NFL franchises this hiring cycle, including two that made a heavy run at him. Fitzgerald, who has served as coach of the Wildcats since 2006, last signed a contract extension in 2017 that took him through 2026.
A former standout linebacker for the Wildcats in the mid-1990s, Fitzgerald is one of college football’s best coaches and synonymous with the program. He’s also led the Wildcats to a rare era of continued success that has been largely lacking in their history. The sixth-longest tenured head coach in the FBS, Fitzgerald is the winningest coach in Northwestern history. He has a 106-81 overall record with nine winning seasons, three 10-win seasons and two Big Ten title game appearances in the last three seasons.
Overtures from the NFL are nothing new for Fitzgerald, who has shown a mastery of building a winning culture in Evanston. But it appears as though he’s happy to stay at his alma mater for a while longer.
Published: 2021-01-27 18:47:32
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