Against Winning Teams, Fitzgerald’s Record Takes Big Hit

My Oct. 18 column from CBS Chicago

Pat Fitzgerald(CBS) It’s been rumored that USC is interested in him.

In recent years, his name has been linked to open head coaching positions at both Penn State and Michigan. And last winter, as Notre Dame prepared for the National Championship Game, he was mentioned as a potentialreplacement if Fighting Irish coach Brian Kelly were to bolt South Bend for the NFL.

Yes, popular national opinion clearly has placed Northwestern’s 38-year-old Pat Fitzgerald among the game’s elite echelon of coaches.

And for years I’ve been trying to understand exactly why.

Because, when it comes to Fitzgerald’s reputation in Evanston and the reality of his record, the numbers simply don’t add up. I know, because this week I crunched them. And what I confirmed is that the digits leave Fitzgerald’s resume looking far more black-and-blue than purple.

But before we get into that, I’d like to point out that it’s not that I think that Pat Fitzgerald is a bad coach. I don’t. Rather, I think he’s a decent one, and believe that the former standout linebacker at NU is a very good fit for his alma mater’s football program. But I also think his legend in Evanston is very much outpacing the accomplishments of his teams.

Continue reading at