July 31, 2014
EVANSTON, Ill. -- Serving as the center of attention at Big Ten Football Media Day in Chicago was only the beginning of the week for Pat Fitzgeraldand the rest of the Big Ten head coaches, who continued their time in the spotlight by being put through the ESPN "car wash" of media opportunities at the headquarters of the Worldwide Leader in Bristol, Conn.
The day began with a private early-morning flight from Chicago to Bristol, landing in time for Fitzgerald to make it to the studio of the ever-popular "Mike & Mike in the Morning" radio and TV show. Unfortunately, NU alum Mike Greenberg and co-host Mike Golic were still on the road after throwing out the first pitch at Wrigley Field on Tuesday, giving Fitzgerald a prime opportunity to rag on his good buddy -- and one-time NU Football honorary captain -- Greeny.
Fitzgerald then began his relentless tour of seemingly each and every radio and TV studio on the Bristol campus, making appearances on "First Take," "Roundtable" and "SportsCenter," stopping for sit-down interviews with Brett McMurphy, Ivan Maisel and Travis Haney, and also finding time for an ESPN.com chat and a photo shoot.
True to the narrative of ESPN's legendary "This is SportsCenter" commercials, you never quite know who you'll bump into on a visit to Bristol. Last year, Fitzgerald happened into a meeting with UFC icon Ronda Rousey, and on Thursday he found himself face-to-face with legendary NFL running back Jerome Bettis. No doubt the topic of Northwestern's upcoming game at Bettis' alma mater -- the University of Notre Dame -- came up in conversation. More than 20 years ago, the two stalwarts likely would have run into each other in a different way (say, violently at the line of scrimmage) had Bettis not foregone his senior season with the Irish to enter the 1993 NFL Draft; Northwestern and Notre Dame squared off in the season-opener in '93, Fitzgerald's freshman campaign in Evanston.
Of course, few people were more excited for Fitzgerald's visit to Bristol than the multitude of Northwestern alumni now employed by ESPN, many of them graduates of NU's prestigious Medill School of Journalism. Fitzgerald found time to stop and catch up with his fellow Northwestern alums and thank them for all they do in sharing their #PurplePride with the sports journalism world.
Fitzgerald is closing the day with a swift flight back to Chicago where he can turn his attention to what interests him most: coaching the #B1GCats. Northwestern officially meets for the first time as a team on Sunday before opening training camp Monday morning in Evanston.
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