Q&A: President Morton Schapiro on Northwestern football


Daily file photo by Jacob Swan

Morton Schapiro cheers on the football team. Schapiro is an avid fan and follower of the school’s athletic teams.

Daily Sports Staff

Coming off a 10-win season, Northwestern football has turned several heads. With two players drafted to the NFL last month and multiple primetime games on the schedule for next season, there is plenty of buzz about what the future holds for the Wildcats. During an interview with The Daily, University President Morton Schapiro reflected on the 2015 season and looked ahead to next year.

The Daily: The NFL Draft recently happened and Dean Lowry and Dan Vitale both got drafted. What was your reaction to watching that happen?

Schapiro: It was great. I think I was in Qatar, so I was trying to follow it to see — I was hoping Danny would go in the fifth, not the sixth, but I was thrilled that Dean went in the (fourth). Because you know Danny was the second ranked fullback … so I think he’s in a good position. I think the Packers are the perfect fit for Dean so yeah, I’m really, really excited about having a fourth and a sixth rounder, because we had (Ibraheim) Campbell and (Trevor) Siemian, so last year we had — was that a fifth and a seventh, right? — yeah, I think it was a fifth and a seventh, and now we went up to a fourth and a sixth, and you next year, we have all kinds of potential for next year and the year after. … A couple of years ago, nobody was drafted, and I remember Fitz said to me, ‘I don’t think that’s going to happen again.” …  And to see Ibraheim do really well, and obviously Trevor to get a Super Bowl ring — you know, I was a little disappointed to see the Broncos draft a quarterback, but I think Trevor’s gonna beat him out. I think Trevor’s gonna start. I like that kid. I just love that kid. And I love Dean and Danny. I said to both of them at the Outback Bowl … you know I live and die with my Patriots, but my second favorite team is going to be wherever you go, wherever you go. So now I’ll be rooting for the Packers and I’ll be rooting for … Tampa Bay.

The Daily: It was just announced that in September there’s going to be night games against Duke and Nebraska. Are you excited for the primetime games?

Schapiro: Don’t forget The Ohio State, that’s a 4:30 p.m. game, but 5:30 p.m. in Ohio. So three primetime games so far. Isn’t that pretty incredible? So last year, people don’t expect anything from us. I mean, how many prime-time games did we have? … So we already have three primetime games. I’m just thrilled. … To have three games already singled out, and who knows what’s going to happen. We’re at Iowa. How about Michigan State, are you kidding me? That should be the ABC national game. The Nebraska kickoff’s 6:30 our time, Duke 7, and the Ohio State 4:30. So I’m excited about that.

The Daily: Does Northwestern have any control over the night games?

Schapiro: No, we have no control. We give that up and (for) most of them we don’t know until the Monday of the week before the game, so we try to set Homecoming, we don’t even know. So we’re waiting … 11 days before the game, 12 days before the game is when we first find out the time. We find out that Monday morning.

The Daily: What was your favorite moment of the year?

Schapiro: One of the high points for me this year was after we beat Duke, and it was kind of hot in the locker room, so I went over into the media room … and they brought in the different players to be interviewed. … Dean comes in, so they ask him “What’s it like to beat Stanford and now beat Duke?” and he had the greatest answer. He said, “You know what’s really good? These are our academic peers. These are great private research universities. It’s always great to beat someone with a great football reputation, but to beat schools with these academic reputations.” It was such a great answer.

This interview was edited for brevity.