Long-time Northwestern head coach Pat Fitzgerald has been fired by the university.
This comes just about 48 hours after being placed on a two-week unpaid suspension after a brief investigation into hazing allegations and racist cultural issues surrounding the Wildcat football program.
Northwestern University president Michael Schill released a statement Monday afternoon that stated, “This afternoon, I informed Head Football Coach Pat Fitzgerald that he was being relieved of his duties effective immediately.”
Schill, noted the hazing included “forced participation, nudity, and sexualized act of a degrading nature” which is a direct violation of university policy. He did also state that it had not been confirmed how much Fitzgerald knew, but the head coach is “ultimately responsible for the culture of the team.”
The firing comes after Schill admitted he may have made a mistake in the rush to suspend Fitzgerald rather than gathering all of the facts. It should also be noted the suspension was for July a noted quiet period for college coaches.
Fitzgerald has spent 17 seasons as the head coach of the Wildcats after five years as an assistant and four years as a player. He accumulated a 110 wins over his tenure and led Northwestern to five bowl wins.
With a head coaching search now underway, ESPN’s Pete Thamel has mentioned David Braun – the Wildcats’ current defensive coordinator – as the acting head coach.
Penn State travels to Northwestern September 30 for the first time since 2017 which was a 31-7 victory for the Nittany Lions.