Northwestern football finds itself in unique circumstances following the firing of longtime head coach Pat Fitzgerald. Fitzgerald was fired on Monday after additional information regarding hazing incidents that occurred during his tenure as the Wildcats' head coach came to light.


Northwestern football faces difficult hire

Having spent 17 seasons with the program, Fitzgerald's departure marks a significant change for Northwestern. His record of 110-101, including 10 bowl appearances and two Big Ten West division titles, solidifies his status as the most accomplished coach in the school's history. Not to mention that as an alumnus of Northwestern, Fitzgerald embodied the spirit and loyalty of the university, making his replacement an even more challenging task.

Winning at Northwestern is no easy feat, and it is unlikely that many coaches have actively pursued this job in some time due to the strong bond between the university and Fitzgerald — both parties were extremely committed to each other. Now wanting to attract applicants for the now-open position with the season two months away will be difficult due to the program's negative publicity and the need for a complete reset.

Given the timing, Northwestern has two sets of criteria in selecting their next head coach. They can either promote from within or hire a semi-retired or recently fired coach who is available. Even an assistant coach looking to advance in their career would likely think twice about taking on this kind of challenge so close to the start of the season.