Northwestern University and Evanston's Only Daily News Source Since 1881

The Daily Northwestern

Northwestern University and Evanston's Only Daily News Source Since 1881

The Daily Northwestern

Northwestern University and Evanston's Only Daily News Source Since 1881

The Daily Northwestern


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Northwestern parts ways with football coach Pat Fitzgerald

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Joshua Hoffman/Daily Senior Staffer
Pat Fitzgerald.

Northwestern has parted ways with football head coach Pat Fitzgerald, sources familiar with the situation told The Daily. 

Fitzgerald had previously been suspended for two weeks without pay after the University announced Friday that an independent investigation into the team indicated hazing reports were “largely supported by evidence.” 

The Daily published reports on Saturday and Monday with details of the hazing allegations and additional racism allegations from former players. 

“As much as Fitzgerald has meant to our institution and to our student-athletes, we have an obligation – in fact a responsibility – to live by our values,” University President Michael Schill said in a statement following Fitzgerald’s release from the program. “Even when it means making difficult and painful decisions such as this one. We must move forward.”

Schill also officially released limited details from the investigation in the statement, sharing that the University’s investigation included eleven players acknowledging hazing occurred in the program. His statement said the hazing included “forced participation, nudity and sexualized acts of a degrading nature.”

University President Michael Schill told community members in an email Saturday that he believed he may have “erred” in his decision to suspend NU football coach Pat Fitzgerald for two weeks hours after two former Northwestern football players detailed allegations of hazing to The Daily, including coerced sexual acts.

A source familiar with the situation told The Daily that board members had kept up with coverage of the situation today and grew increasingly frustrated.

Three former Northwestern football players recalled instances of racism from coaching staff and players and described a “culture of enabling racism” to The Daily Monday

Before coaching, Fitzgerald played linebacker at NU from 1993-96. He contributed to the program’s 10-1 regular season record in 1995 and the 1996 Rose Bowl — the program’s second-ever bowl appearance. Additionally, he was a two-time Big Ten Defensive Player of the Year, two-time Consensus All-American and a Bronko Nagurski Trophy and Chuck Bednarik Award winner.

Fitzgerald returned to Evanston as a linebacker coach and recruiting coordinator in 2001 before being promoted to head coach in June of 2006 following Randy Walker’s unexpected death. Since then, Fitzgerald led the program to 10 bowl games and two Big Ten West titles in 2018 and 2020.

The team’s 2022 record was 1-11. 

Schill said in his Monday night statement that Fitzgerald’s impact on the University was “tremendous.” Over the last two days, Schill said he has received hundreds of letters detailing how Fitzgerald has changed the lives of former and current student athletes.

“I recognize that my decision will not be universally applauded, and there will be those in our community who may vehemently disagree with it,” Schill said in the statement. “Ultimately, I am charged with acting in the best interests of the entire University, and this decision is reflective of that.”

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Former NU football player details hazing allegations

Former NU players describe racist environment in football program

Schill says he “may have erred” in Pat Fitzgerald sanction

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