The Northwestern Wildcats are in need of a new head coach after firing Pat Fitzgerald. The move came in the aftermath of a hazing scandal.
The university initially placed Fitzgerald on a two-week unpaid suspension. However, after look into the matter further and a few former players anonymously talking about his involvement, the university let him go.
The school appeared to change course on Saturday night when university president Michael Schill signed a letter saying he did not consider everything once new details emerged:
“In determining an appropriate penalty for the head coach, I focused too much on what the report concluded he didn’t know and not enough on what he should have known.
“As the head coach of one of our athletics programs, coach Fitzgerald is not only responsible for what happens within the program but also must take great care to uphold our institutional commitment to the student expreience. … Clearly, he failed to uphold that committment, and I failed to sufficiently consider that failure in levying a sanction.” h/t ESPN
Where does this leave Northwestern less than two months before the 2023 college season, and what happens next with Pat Fitzgerald?
What does the firing of Pat Fitzgerald mean for the Northwestern Wildcats?
The firing of Pat Fitzgerald clearly means there is more information that was found out than what they originally believed. The anonymous players’ claims about the “running” may have been found, but Northwestern has not announced any additional findings.
In addition to the hazing allegations, The Daily Northwestern also detailed claims from both former Wildcat Ramon Diaz Jr. and multiple anonymous sources about the culture enabling racism.
While speaking to the student newspaper, Diaz spoke about his feelings around the program while playing from 2005-2008:
“I didn’t feel like I could be anything other than white. We never felt like we could be ourseves. We had to fit in by being white or acting white or laughing at our own people.” h/t NBC Sports
It will be interesting to see if Pat Fitzgerald speaks or issues a statement soon about his departure. His agent declined to comment to the school paper about the allegations, and a Northwestern official said the university was unaware of the allegations.
In the end, there were too many issues with the culture surrounding the program and Fitzgerald did not do anything to fix it.