Northwestern Wildcats head football coach Pat Fitzgerald has been fired after reports of team hazing were made public by the Daily Northwestern, the school’s student newspaper. The Athletic’s Matt Fortuna reported the firing on Monday evening.
An independent investigation that began in January led university president Mark Schill to sanction Fitzgerald with a two-week suspension, but public backlash to the published reports of the hazing caused him to reconsider. In an official statement, Schill wrote, “I focused too much on what the report concluded he didn’t know and not enough on what he should have known.”
The alleged hazing incidents were frequently sexual in nature and involved explicit sexual harassment of underclassmen on the team. Fitzgerald told the university he was “unaware of the alleged incidents.” On Monday, three more former Wildcat players spoke with the Daily Northwestern to corroborate some of the prior hazing allegations while also speaking about their experiences with racism within the program.
Fitzgerald, a former Wildcat who played for the school in the 1990s, has been the head coach at Northwestern since 2006 and has been on the coaching staff there since 2001. In his 17 seasons as head coach, he went 110-101.