Pat Fitzgerald

Pat Fitzgerald

No matter what the setting, Pat Fitzgerald invariably feels comfortable using his passion, unwavering set of core values and outward enthusiasm to inspire and improve those around him.

Although Fitzgerald's passion and commitment to excellence may be difficult to quantify, his positive impact in Northwestern's on-field performance since he took the reins as head coach is not. An assistant football coach for the Wildcats from 2001 through the summer of 2006, Fitzgerald was named Northwestern's 29th head coach on July 7, 2006, succeeding Randy Walker, who died suddenly on June 29, 2006. Since then, "Fitz" has guided the Wildcats to four consecutive postseason berths and five straight years of bowl-eligibility, both school bests.

That passion was also a primary factor in Fitzgerald's Hall-of-Fame playing career at Northwestern, when he was a two-time Bronko Nagurski and Chuck Bednarik Award winner and team leader of NU's back-to-back Big Ten title-winning teams in the mid-'90's.

Prior to his return to Northwestern, Fitzgerald was a defensive graduate assistant at Maryland (1998) and Colorado (1999) before taking his first full-time position at the University of Idaho in 2000. In 2001, Walker brought Fitzgerald back to Evanston, hiring him to coach the Wildcats' defensive secondary. In 2002, he moved to linebackers coach, and then in 2004, added the recruiting coordinator to his title.

A graduate of Orland Park's (Ill.) Carl Sandburg High School, Fitzgerald resides in Northfield with his wife, Stacy, and three sons, Jack, Ryan and Brendan.

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“Coach George Smith is not only an influence on young people, but the influence is multiplied many times in the beliefs of the young people he helped mold into amazing human beings. George is an outstanding coach, but more importantly, he is an outstanding gentleman.” —Tina Jones, Principal of St. Thomas Aquinas High School