June 23, 2009
EVANSTON, Ill. -- Northwestern University Director of Athletics and Recreation Jim Phillips announced today that the University has extended the contract of Head Football Coach Pat Fitzgerald through the 2015 season. Fitzgerald has been a member of the Wildcats' football coaching staff since 2001 and NU's head coach since 2006.
"To be certain, I am absolutely ecstatic that we have come to an agreement with Coach Pat Fitzgerald on a long-term contract extension," said Phillips. "This has been one of our top priorities the past few months. There is no doubt that Pat is the right individual to lead Northwestern's football program well into the future."
"In three years, Pat has quickly developed into one of the nation's top young head coaches. He bleeds purple and has tremendous passion for Northwestern. His student-athletes absolutely love playing football for him. Besides our accomplishments on the football field, and just as importantly, our program is enjoying unprecedented academic success, having registered a team GPA above a 3.0 this past year -- the first time that has happened in our school's history.
"I'm thrilled about the future of Northwestern football with Pat on board for many years to come."
Fitzgerald, 19-18 in three seasons as the Wildcats' head coach, led Northwestern to a nine-win season in 2008 and now has been a part (as a player and coach) of three of the five most successful campaigns in school history. The Wildcats achieved bowl-eligibility the past two seasons and earned a trip to the Valero Alamo Bowl last December.
"I want to thank Jim Phillips, President Bienen, Chairman of the Board Pat Ryan, our coaches and our players for their tremendous support and trust they've given me," said Fitzgerald. "It's no secret that I want to be the head football coach at Northwestern for many years to come."
"Our football program is succeeding both on and off the field, and we're proud of our recent accomplishments. We have greater aspirations, however, and I'm thankful to our administration for helping us support that vision."
This past season, Fitzgerald was named the Big Ten Coach of the Year by the Touchdown Club of Columbus, and he was a Munger Coach of the Year semifinalist and a Liberty Mutual Coach of the Year finalist. He also was inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame in December, 2008, for his accomplishments as a star linebacker at Northwestern (1993-96).