Pat Fitzgerald has been coaching at Northwestern since 2001 (after playing there for four years during the 1990s), and he won’t be leaving any time soon.
According to ESPN’s Brett McMurphy on Monday, the Wildcats have inked Fitzgerald to a contract extension that will keep him in Evanston for at least the next 10 seasons. The school confirmed the news on Tuesday.
“This is home for me and my family, and I love this University,” Fitzgerald said in a news release. “I’m extremely privileged to coach the exceptional young men we invite here to earn the best education in college football and compete at the highest level in the Big Ten Conference. The best is yet to come, and we’re excited for the future.”
Fitzgerald first became head coach at Northwestern in 2006, after five seasons as an assistant. The Wildcats are 77-62 since he took over the program, with seven bowl appearances in 11 seasons. Before he became head coach, Northwestern had made only six bowl games in program history.
In 2011, Fitzgerald signed a contract extension that locked him up through 2020. The reported new deal will ensure he’ll stick around considerably longer than that.
Before becoming the greatest coach in Northwestern history, Fitzgerald was arguably the best player in program history, winning back-to-back Bronko Nagurski trophies as the nation’s best defensive player in 1995 and ’96.