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Pat Fitzgerald Agrees to 10-Year Contract Extension with Northwestern


Northwestern coach Pat Fitzgerald has agreed to a 10-year contract extension with the program through 2030, the school announced Wednesday.

The university has not revealed the exactly terms of the new contract. Pete Thamel of Yahoo Sports reported that multiple NFL franchises reached out to Fitzgerald this year, including two that made a heavy push. 

Fitzgerald has led the program to at least seven wins in five of the past six seasons, including two 10-win seasons (2015 and 2017) and a nine-win season in 2018.

"We have one of the best coaches in college football and, more importantly, a leader uncommonly suited to this University," Northwestern athletic director Jim Phillips said in a statement. "Over the course of his tenure, Coach Fitzgerald has built a culture of unwavering belief in excellence both on and off the field, and led our Wildcats to unprecedented sustained success. They boast incredible achievement in the classroom, in the community and in competition, and will for years to come."

Fourteen of Northwestern's 16 all-time bowl appearances have come with Fitzgerald as a player or coach. He is the sixth-longest tenured head coach in FBS football.  

Fitzgerald is also the winningest coach (106 victories) in Northwestern history after reaching the 100-win milestone in the 2020 season opener at Ryan Field and finishing the campaign with his 106th victory in the 2021 Citrus Bowl. 

As a Northwestern linebacker in the 1990s, Fitzgerald won both the Bronko Nagurski Trophy and Chuck Bednarik Award twice as the best defensive player in college football. Fitzgerald also led the Wildcats to a pair of Big Ten Championships and their most recent Rose Bowl appearance. 

Fitzgerald was awarded a Big Ten Medal of Honor in 1997 and was inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame in 2008.

He was recognized as the 2020 Bobby Dodd National Coach of the Year as well as the Big Ten Coach of the Year in 2018. 

In 2020, Fitzgerald's 15th season as the Wildcats' head coach, Northwestern finished 7-2 and reached the Big Ten Championship Game. The Wildcats have won the Big Ten West division title twice in the last three years.