Patrick William Fitzgerald Jr. (born December 2, 1974) is the current head coach of the Northwestern University Wildcats football team. As a linebacker for Northwestern from 1993 to 1996, he won both the Bronko Nagurski Trophy and Chuck Bednarik Award twice as the best defensive player in college football. He was inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame in 2008. As of 2020, he is the sixth longest-tenured head coach in Division IFBS.
About Pat Fitzgerald in brief
Patrick William Fitzgerald Jr. (born December 2, 1974) is the current head coach of the Northwestern University Wildcats football team. As a linebacker for Northwestern from 1993 to 1996, he won both the Bronko Nagurski Trophy and Chuck Bednarik Award twice as the best defensive player in college football. He was inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame in 2008. Fitzgerald was named the youngest head football coach in the Big Ten Conference and NCAA Division I FBS by five years in 2006. As of 2020, he is the sixth longest-tenured head coach in Division IFBS. Fitzgerald led the Wildcats to a 10–1 regular season record in 1995 and a berth in the 1996 Rose Bowl, the school’s second ever bowl appearance and the first since 1949. In his playing career, he was twice named Big Ten Defensive Player of the Year and was a two-time Consensus All-American. In 2011, the Wildcats defeated #9 Nebraska 28–27 in Lincoln’s New Year’s Day bowl. The Wildcats’ winning ways under Fitzgerald continued in 2010, highlighted by a dramatic last minute 21–17 upset of #13 Iowa. The win over Iowa came when the Hawkeyes were ranked #4 in the BCS standings and is, to date, the highest ranked opponent ever defeated by a Fitzgerald coached team. The 2010 Outback Bowl saw Wildcat quarterback Mike Kafka set not only school records with 47 completions for 532 yards but set all-time all-bowl records in those categories as well. Nearly six million viewers watched the Wildcats play in their first New Year’s Day bowl since 1996 in Lincoln, Nebraska in one of the most entertaining games of the 2009–2010 season.
He also led the defensive effort with 14 tackles in the Wildcats’ 19–13 win, the first for Northwestern in Ann Arbor since 1959, against #7 Michigan. After graduation, he joined the coaching staff at the University of Maryland in 1998 under head coach Ron Vanderlinden, who had been Fitzgerald’s defensive coordinator during his playing days at Northwestern. In 2001, he served as linebackers coach and recruiting coordinator until his promotion to head coach after the unexpected death of Randy Walker in June 2006. He then moved on to University of Colorado under his former Northwestern head coach, Gary Barnett, before returning to Northwestern in 2001. In 2008, Fitzgerald was honored at a ceremony on December 9, 2008 in New York City and enshrined in the Hall of fame in South Bend, Indiana in July 2009. He is the 15th Northwestern player or coach to be inducted in the College football Hall of Hall of Famer. Fitzgerald is married to former Northwestern player and head coach Jennifer Fitzgerald. The couple have three children, a son, a daughter, and a son-in-law. Fitzgerald and Jennifer Fitzgerald are married with a son and a daughter. The family has three grandchildren, a boy and a girl. The Fitzgeralds live in Evanston, Illinois and a grandson.