Pat Fitzgerald hosts movie night to promote new Medill sports program

Northwestern football coach Pat Fitzgerald speaks at a Medill sports movie night Monday in Louis Hall. “Remember the Titans” was screened.

Brian Lee/Daily Senior Staffer

Northwestern football coach Pat Fitzgerald speaks at a Medill sports movie night Monday in Louis Hall. “Remember the Titans” was screened.

Rohan Nadkarni , Reporter

After weeks of intense public scrutiny, Pat Fitzgerald finally answered the question on everyone’s mind Monday night: Who is better looking – himself or Denzel Washington? 

Northwestern’s football coach took that question — he picked Denzel — and more Monday at “Movie Night With Fitz,” an event presented by the Medill Sports Immersion program. The night began with Fitzgerald conducting a Q-and-A session before a screening of his favorite sports movie, “Remember the Titans.”

“One of the parts of the program we were excited about was bringing in local celebrities,” said Marc Zarefsky, a consultant for the program. “When you talk about local celebrities, obviously Fitz is up there. (He) was ecstatic to be involved.”

The event series, which featured University President Morton Schapiro earlier in the quarter, is part of a push to integrate sports culture in Medill. The program begins this academic year in Medill’s graduate school with trips to sports media companies and team franchises. Eventually, administrators hope sports journalism can become an area of concentration in the graduate curriculum. 

Fitzgerald picked “Remember the Titans” as his favorite sports movie because of the values espoused in the tale. The film, starring Washington, is based on the true story of coach Herman Boone and his trials and tribulations leading a racially integrated football team in the early 1970s.

“Just the way that, in a very difficult time period, football was able to bring everyone together,” Fitzgerald told The Daily about why he loved the film. “It wasn’t easy. It was a tough and challenging road. It’s based on a true story, and to learn their story was special.”

Fitzgerald first saw the movie in 2000 during a team trip. However, he wasn’t a big fan of the football scenes. While taking questions, Fitzgerald said the action was very glorified and insisted his practices are nowhere near as exciting.

The coach also fielded a question on his players’ union movement, answering that he only hopes as a family, the team finds a way to come out stronger from the whole situation.

Though it was a treat for those in the audience to chat with Fitzgerald before the movie, it was probably just as novel for him. Fitzgerald’s kids recently saw “The Lego Movie,” but NU’s winningest football coach couldn’t remember the last time he saw a film in theaters.

“That’s a good question, I don’t know the last movie I saw,” a stumped Fitzgerald told The Daily. “I took my two oldest boys a couple winters ago, but I don’t remember the last time I’ve been to a movie theater.”

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