Northwestern's Pat Fitzgerald reportedly considering options with handful of NFL teams
They may not be the highest heights relative to the major college football programs, but Pat Fitzgerald has taken the Northwestern Wildcats to peaks they’ve never before known and kept them there.
After the Wildcats dominant 35-19 Citrus Bowl victory over Auburn on New Years Day to finish 7-2, and 2020 Big Ten West champs, the moment apparently has arrived for Fitzgerald to give real consideration to a change in jobs. At least three NFL teams, the Detroit Lions, Houston Texans, and Atlanta Falcons, are looking at the 46-year-old program builder as a potential head coaching hire, and Fitzgerald, reportedly, is mulling it over.
While Fitzgerald has been openly ecstatic about his position in Evanston, at the school where he was a two-time All-American middle linebacker and on a campus he refers to as “the country club,” several major changes have occurred following his 15th year on the job. First, the Wildcat’s superb athletic director Jim Phillips has left to take over as ACC commissioner, and defensive coordinator Mike Hankowitz has retired after forty seasons as an assistant coach, the last thirteen of them at Northwestern under Fitzgerald.
Fitzgerald is 106-81 overall, including 63-60 in the Big Ten, at a program with an all-time record of 546-669-44. He has won five bowl games during his time there, while Northwestern, in its entire history, has six. Fitzgerald was 2018 Big Ten coach of the year and Bobby Dodd coach of the year this season.
If Fitzgerald chooses to jump to the NFL it will mark an end to the greatest era in the history of Northwestern football, and it’s not even close.