Northwestern fires Pat Fitzgerald: Wildcats coach out amid hazing scandal as cultural issues exposed

Northwestern has fired coach Pat Fitzgerald days after details surfaced alleging graphic instances of hazing within the program, the school announced Monday night. Fitzgerald’s departure comes three days after he was initially suspended without pay for two weeks. However, university administrators opted to revisit his status with the program after two former players provided details of the hazing, which was sexual in nature, to The Daily Northwestern student newspaper. Defensive coordinator David Braun is expected to step in as a liaison managing the team before an interim coach is named, according to multiple reports. 

An executive summary provided by Northwestern recapped an independent investigation that concluded there was not sufficient evidence to believe the Northwestern coaching staff knew about the hazing. Fitzgerald, who has served as head coach of his alma mater for 17 seasons, claimed that he was “not aware of the alleged incidents.” However, as further details came to light through the weekend, university president Michael Schill announced Sunday night that he would reassess the penalty.

Less than 24 hours later as even more details of alleged hazing surfaced, Schill dismissed Fitzgerald.

“The decision comes after a difficult and complex evaluation of my original discipline decision imposed last week on Coach Fitzgerald for his failure to know and prevent significant hazing in the football program,” said Schill in a statement. “Over the last 72 hours, I have spent a great deal of time in thought and in discussions with people who love our University — the Chair and members of our Board of Trustees, faculty leadership, students, alumni and Coach Fitzgerald himself. I have also received many phone calls, text messages and emails from…


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