Home NCAA REACTION: Players Past & Present Defend Beloved Pat Fitzgerald Following Firing

REACTION: Players Past & Present Defend Beloved Pat Fitzgerald Following Firing

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REACTION: Players Past & Present Defend Beloved Pat Fitzgerald Following Firing

In a stunning move that caught the entire college football world by surprise, Northwestern University announced the firing of their longtime head coach, Pat Fitzgerald.

The decision sent shockwaves throughout the country, as many expressed surprise and concern over the school’s swift action in parting ways with the 17-year veteran who has spent over 26 seasons in the program as a player and coach.

Fitzgerald’s record stands at 110-101 and he is by far the most successful football coach in school history. He was inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame in 2008.

He has been a part of four of the five 10-win seasons that Northwestern has had – three as a coach and one as a player.

The response from some of his current players was that of anger – with many rallying to defend their beloved coach while vehemently criticizing the university’s administration for their handling of the dismissal.

Fitzgerald was fired following an investigation into allegations of hazing within the football program. The investigation, initiated after a whistleblower came forward in November, revealed disturbing claims, including coerced sexual acts.

Initially, the school administration opted to suspend Fitzgerald for two weeks on Saturday, leading many to believe that a resolution had been reached. However, in an unexpected turn of events, the university reversed its decision on Monday, leaving everyone stunned.

The abrupt change, coupled with the manner in which players were informed of the decision, has sparked anger and disappointment within the program.

Several players publicly criticized Northwestern’s President, Michael Schill, and Athletic Director, Derrick Gragg, for what they perceive as a mishandling of the situation.

One anonymous player expressed their frustration, stating, “Coach Fitzgerald has always been there for us, both on and off the field. We feel betrayed by the school’s decision to fire him so abruptly. The administration had an opportunity to address these issues properly and involve the team in the process, but they failed us.”

Another player, speaking on the condition of anonymity, stated, “We stand behind Coach Fitz. He has always prioritized our well-being and taught us the importance of integrity and respect. It’s disheartening to see the university turn its back on him without allowing for due process or considering the positive impact he has had on our lives.”

Needless to say, the anger, confusion and disappointment didn’t end there…

“The way that this whole thing played out with @coachfitz51 is absolutely ridiculous! The NUMBER ONE reason that I chose to attend NU was because of this man! A tremendous leader, phenomenal coach, and a man who truly cares about his players and their loved ones.”

“Fitz emphasized integrity, sacrificing for others, respect, and accountability. These are values that I strive to uphold now as a husband and father. While I won’t speak for anyone else, I can say that my experience at NU did not reflect what I read in the Daily Northwestern.”

“Coach Fitz is the definition of a players coach and one that I’ve always described as being exactly who he portrays himself to be. During the 5 years I played for him he consistently lived up to the standards he commanded from us as players.”

“My 5 years under @coachfitz51 as a Northwestern walk on to eventual team captain were incredibly formative for me as a young man. Coach Fitz emphasized respect, honesty and honoring NU.”

“The leadership, mentorship, coaching, and character development I experienced with @coachfitz51 was unparalleled, I put it above any other organization I was a part of in my career… The articles and commentary coming out are not reflective of my experience with him as a coach or a person. Any problems or conflicts on his radar were addressed in team meetings. As a leader on the team, I was asked multiple times by teammates and coach Fitz to mediate 1 on 1 meetings between a player and player who had problems with each other, and a player and coach who had issues with each other… I cannot speak for anyone but myself but believe if things were known & communicated as portrayed, Fitz would have addressed the issues.”

“Either Pat Fitzgerald is an awful human being & tons of people affiliated with the program are still lying to cover up for him or isolated instances of alleged hazing may have happened & someone is trying to get him fired by exaggerating them. I vote the latter. Read below.”

“Hi Twitter, I’m Eduardo Soto and I worked at Northwestern Football for 5 years from 2016-2021. I wrote this letter to President Schill and AD Gragg this morning… I’ll follow up by commenting that as a Latino student assistant (and Venezuelan Immigrant) I never experienced anything but love and acceptance and fair treatment from anyone within the Northwestern Football community. Any allegations of racism are hogwash.”

“Northwestern football will never recover. President basically inflicted the death penalty. They will never get a coach like Fitz again. It will be a steppingstone program if that. Big Ten might eventually drop them.”

 

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