Northwestern, Fitzgerald agree to new contract through 2030

Northwestern Football

EVANSTON, Ill. (AP)Northwestern and coach Pat Fitzgerald have agreed to a new contract through the 2030 season.

The 46-year-old Fitzgerald is by far the program’s winningest coach with a 106-81 record since he took over at his alma mater in 2006 following Randy Walker’s unexpected death. The Wildcats have played in 10 bowl games during his tenure and won five. Northwestern captured its second Big Ten West championship in three years and beat Auburn in the Citrus Bowl last season.

Fitzgerald was under contract through 2026.

”From the moment I stepped on campus as an undergraduate, I have believed this is the finest university in the country, with the potential to offer an unmatched student-athlete experience,” he said Wednesday.

Northwestern has invested heavily in its athletic facilities in recent years, including the $270 million Walter Athletics Center and Ryan Fieldhouse indoor practice facility located along Lake Michigan.

Fitzgerald grew up in the Chicago area and led the long-suffering Wildcats to a pair of Big Ten championships and a Rose Bowl appearance as an All-American linebacker under Gary Barnett in the mid 1990s. His 106 victories are the sixth-most by an active FBS coach with the same program.

Outgoing athletic director Jim Phillips called Fitzgerald ”one of the best coaches in college football” and ”a leader uncommonly suited to this University.”

”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,” said Phillips, who is set to take over as ACC commissioner next month.

More AP college football: https://apnews.com/Collegefootball and https://twitter.com/AP-Top25

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