Pat Fitzgerald’s time at Northwestern is officially over

Pat Fitzgerald has been removed as head coach at Northwestern, according to multiple reports.

Multiple reports indicate that Pat Fitzgerald has been fired by Northwestern, the latest domino to fall following an investigation into reports of alleged sexually charged hazing within the football program.

Pat Fitzgerald Northwestern

Multiple reports indicate Fitzgerald has been fired by Northwestern

The news of Fitzgerald's firing was first reported by ESPN's Pete Thamel.

That would then be corroborated by several other reports:

The former player who exposed the reported hazing said Fitzgerald knew

Fitzgerald, who had been the head coach since 2006 after having played at the school himself, denied knowing anything about the reported hazing, a large portion of which was said to be sexualized.

“Northwestern football prides itself on producing not just athletes, but fine young men with character befitting the program and our university,” Fitzgerald said in his statement. “We hold our student-athletes and our program to the highest standards; we will continue to work to exceed those standards moving forward.”

And one of the anonymous players who came forward with the reports said that Fitzgerald failed the team and absolutely knew about it.

“Fitz absolutely knew about hazing in this program,” the former player told ESPN. “Fitz absolutely failed by not intervening. Fitz knew, and he should have made it stop; and if he truly did not know, he should not be the head coach. Either way, he should not be the head coach, because he is not monitoring and protecting the safety and well-being of student-athletes.”

After the reports were delivered in January, a school investigation into the matter commenced.

Fitzgerald was recently suspended for two weeks, and University president Michael Schill would soon say in a letter to the Northwestern community that he “may have erred in weighing the appropriate sanction” towards Fitzgerald.

His firing comes just two years into a massive 10-year, $57 million contract.

Key Points

  • Two anonymous former Northwestern players have blown the whistle on multiple instances of alleged sexually charged hazing
  • The player also said that head coach Pat Fitzgerald knew about it
  • Multiple reports indicate that he has been fired

Bottom Line

While there is nothing wrong with good-natured hazing, anything that goes beyond that and delves into anything involving unwanted sexual acts or advances or violence that can cause physical harm and mental distress to a player is never acceptable.

Based on the evidence gathered by the University, it would appear that Fitzgerald failed to put an end to it on his watch.