Northwestern has fired head football coach Pat Fitzgerald, the school announced on Monday. Fitzgerald, a former Wildcat player who has been at the helm of his alma mater for the last seventeen seasons, is embroiled in a hazing scandal that could take months to fully come to light.
“The head coach is ultimately responsible for the culture of his team,” AD Michael Schill said in a statement. “The hazing we investigated was widespread and clearly not a secret within the program, providing Coach Fitzgerald with the opportunity to learn what was happening. Either way, the culture in Northwestern Football, while incredible in some ways, was broken in others.”
Fitzgerald went 110-101 overall, but the Wildcats have gone just 4-20 (2-16 Big Ten) over the last two seasons. But the real reason for the firing are the stories and allegations of hazing – and of a racist atmosphere – that have been coming out of Evanston over the past few days. The school launched an independent investigation and originally suspended Fitzgerald without pay for two weeks, but new information – much of it coming from NU student publications – has taken the situation to an entirely new level.
The Wildcats start their season Sunday 9/3 at Rutgers. Much more on this story to come.
credit to Marc Lebryk, USA TODAY Sports for the image