It’s a tale as old as time.

A good college assistant rises through the ranks and is promoted to head coach. Once there, he maximizes his team’s production and takes a program to what appears to be their highest plateau, and keeps them there. Then the NFL comes calling. 

It appears that Northwestern head coach Pat Fitzgerald, one year after a 3-9 season and fresh off the Wildcat’s second Big Ten Championship game loss, has entered that territory once more after being the subject of rumors several years back.

ESPN’s ace reporter Adam Schefter has gone live with a piece claiming league’s sources have confirmed that multiple NFL team’s are going to ask formal permission to interview Fitzgerald following whatever bowl game the Wildcat’s participate in. According to Schefter, two teams already have asked after the head man following Saturday’s hard-fought 22-10 loss to a depleted Ohio State Buckeyes team.

Per Schefter: 

Two teams already inquired about Fitzgerald’s availability Saturday afternoon after Northwestern lost to Ohio State in the Big Ten championship game, according to a source with knowledge of the situation.

Fitzgerald, who has won two Big Ten West titles over the past three years and has coached Northwestern to three 10-win seasons, will be one of the highest-demand NFL head-coaching candidates in the upcoming hiring cycle.

Fitzgerald calls Northwestern’s Lake Michigan-side campus in Evanston “the Country Club,” and over the years has both proclaimed and reiterated his love for the program he now leads as a head coach. Twenty-five years earlier, of course, Fitzgerald also led the program on the field as a middle linebacker and team captain all the way to the 1995 Big Ten title and the school’s first Rose Bowl birth since 1949. 

The question for Fitzgerald likely will be simple: Am I done with Northwestern, or not?