Pat Fitzgerald’s time at Northwestern has come to an end.
Northwestern has fired football coach Pat Fitzgerald in the wake of a hazing scandal that has rocked the Evanston campus.
According to Pete Thamel of ESPN, Pat Fitzgerald was fired in the wake of the release of an investigation into alleged hazing in the program on Friday, and more details coming out over the weekend.
Sources: Northwestern has fired coach Pat Fitzgerald.
— Pete Thamel (@PeteThamel) July 10, 2023
A day after announcing Fitzgerald’s suspension, the school appeared to reverse course Saturday night, with university president Michael Schill saying in a letter sent to the Northwestern community that he “may have erred in weighing the appropriate sanction” for Fitzgerald after new details emerged surrounding the hazing allegations.
“In determining an appropriate penalty for the head coach, I focused too much on what the report concluded he didn’t know and not enough on what he should have known,” Schill wrote in his letter Saturday night. “As the head coach of one of our athletics programs, coach Fitzgerald is not only responsible for what happens within the program but also must take great care to uphold our institutional commitment to the student experience. … Clearly, he failed to uphold that commitment, and I failed to sufficiently consider that failure in levying a sanction.”
Fitzgerald’s suspension was one of the actions Northwestern announced after the investigation, which started in January, came to a conclusion. Despite the fact that player accounts varied and there was insufficient proof that coaches were aware of the behavior, Northwestern concluded that one claim made by an anonymous whistleblower was supported. No more off-campus preseason workouts in Kenosha, Wisconsin, where some of the alleged hazing allegedly took place, and a new football locker room monitor who won’t answer to Fitzgerald or his staff were among the additional measures.
Pat Fitzgerald completes his time at Northwestern with a 110-101 record. He was named the Big Ten Coach of the Year for 2018. He was also a distinguished player for the Wildcats, helping Northwestern to two conference championships and a Rose Bowl trip while earning two Big Ten Defensive Player of the Year awards and being named a consensus All-American in 1995 and 1996.