Tuesday, May 10, 2011
Pat Fitzgerald signed through 2020
By Adam Rittenberg ESPN.com
Northwestern on Tuesday announced a new contract for coach Pat Fitzgerald that runs through the 2020 season.
Fitzgerald's previous extension, signed in June 2009, ran through the 2015 campaign. His new 10-year contract begins immediately. Salary figures were not disclosed.
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"There is no better individual to lead Chicago's Big Ten team than Pat," Northwestern athletic director Jim Phillips said in a statement announcing the deal. "He is a tremendous teacher and truly values developing young men athletically, academically and socially.
"Our football program is having unprecedented success -- on the football field, in the classroom and in the community -- and that is due to Pat's outstanding leadership," Phillips added. "Northwestern is committed to giving our football program all the necessary resources to do tremendous things on and off the field."
According to a source, the new agreement will allocate greater resources for Fitzgerald's assistant coaches. Northwestern's facilities plan could include upgrades for Ryan Field and the Wildcats' football headquarters.
Northwestern began working on the contract in January after affirming its commitment to Fitzgerald, who drew serious interest from Michigan regarding its vacancy before the Wolverines hired Brady Hoke.
Fitzgerald, 36, is 34-29 in five seasons as Northwestern's coach and has guided the Wildcats to three consecutive bowl games for the first time in team history.
"I'm humbled and appreciative of the commitment shown by Northwestern," Fitzgerald said. "With this support from our administration, our coaches and players expect to compete for championships."
Adam Rittenberg covers Big Ten football for ESPN.com. He can be reached at email@example.com