Pat Fitzgerald has found his replacement for longtime defensive coordinator Mike Hankwitz.

On Wednesday, Northwestern officially announced that Jim O’Neil will be the next defensive coordinator of the Wildcats. He comes to Evanston after spending the past three seasons with the NFL’s Las Vegas Raiders. O’Neil spent the last two years serving as the defensive backs coach.

“We are thrilled to welcome Jim, Stacy, Danny, Kellan and Riley, to our Northwestern football family,” said head coach Pat Fitzgerald. “He is highly regarded in our profession for his knowledge of the game and defensive concepts, an unparalleled passion for teaching, and the respect he has earned from players and fellow coaches. Jim’s understanding of what we’ve built here and the vision he has for our defense has our entire program excited for the future.”

Most of O’Neil’s experience has come at the NFL level. He’s been in the professional ranks since 2009 and has made stops with the New York Jets, Buffalo Bills, Cleveland Browns and San Francisco 49ers.

“I am ecstatic about joining the Northwestern Football Family,” said O’Neil. “It’s rare to find a program that excels academically and athletically at such a high level. Coach Fitz has done an incredible job of developing a winning culture based on loyalty, work ethic, and brotherhood. I am excited to build on the defensive foundation that has been established here by tremendous coaches and student-athletes. Our defense will attack everything we do with a relentless attitude. Thank you to my super star wife, Stacy, who has supported this dream, coordinated countless moves and been the rock of our family for over 20 years!”

Northwestern finished the 2020 campaign with a 7-2 record and won the B1G West for the second time in three seasons.