Pat Fitzgerald

Pat Fitzgerald issues statement, retains legal counsel after firing

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Former Northwestern football coach Pat Fitzgerald issued a statement after he was fired by the university, saying he is retaining legal counsel and that he intends to “take the necessary steps to protect his rights.”

Fitzgerald, who was fired Monday in the wake of an investigation into hazing in the football program, says he takes “great pride” in his achievements in Evanston, but criticized the administration for the handling of his dismissal.

“Last Friday, Northwestern and I came to a mutual agreement regarding the appropriate resolution following the thorough investigation conducted by Ms. (Maggie) Hickey,” he said. ‘This agreement stipulated a two-week suspension. Therefore, I was surprised when I learned the president of Northwestern unilaterally revoked our agreement without any prior notification and subsequently terminated my employment.”

Fitzgerald says he is retaining legal counsel in the case, and that he intends to “take the necessary steps to protect my rights in accordance with the law.”

The statement comes hours after Northwestern relieved Fitzgerald of his duties amid the continuing fallout from an investigation into hazing at the school.

Matt Fortuna of the Athletic reported Monday that the two sides had parted ways after nearly two decades:

In a letter to the school, President Michael Schill confirmed that he had spoken to Fitzgerald and informed him of the decision.

"The decision comes after a difficult and complex evaluation of my original discipline decision imposed last week on Coach Fitzgerald for his failure to know and prevent significant hazing in the football program," Schill said. 'Ultimately, the decision to originally suspend Coach Fitzgerald was mine and mine alone, as is the decision to part ways with him."

Fitzgerald had served as Northwestern’s coach since 2006, compiling a 110-101 record and leading the team to 10 bowl games.

The decision comes in the wake of a scandal involving allegations of hazing in the football program. Fitzgerald had been suspended for two weeks on Friday, but as new revelations came to light, including interviews with players who had witnessed or been the subject of the alleged hazing, the school said it was reevaluating the situation.

More revelations came to light via reporting from the Daily Northwestern on Monday, alleging racist actions by the team's coaching staff.

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