NU Inks Contract With Wildcats Coach

Pat Fitzgerald will remain on the sidelines as head coach through 2020

By Lisa Balde
|  Tuesday, May 10, 2011  |  Updated 3:40 PM CDT
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NU Inks Contract With Wildcats Coach

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Head coach Pat Fitzgerald of the Northwestern Wildcats encourages his team as they take on the Michigan State Spartans at Ryan Field on October 23, 2010 in Evanston.

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It's official. Wildcats coach Pat Fitzgerald will helm the team through 2020.

Though rumors swirled about Fitzgerald moving to Penn State to coach the school's Nittany Lions, Northwestern University announced Tuesday it has inked a 10-year contract with its head football coach.

"It is paramount for Northwestern football to have great leadership," athletic director Jim Phillips said in a statement. "There is no better individual to lead Chicago's Big Ten Team than Pat. He is a tremendous teacher."

Fitzgerald has led the team to three consecutive bowl games and four years of bowl-eligibility during his five seasons as head coach. He was a two-time All-American linebacker for Northwestern in the mid-1990s, and he was inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame in 2008.

"I'm humbled and appreciative of the commitment shown by Northwestern," Fitzgerald said in a statement. "With this support from our administration, our coaches and players expect to compete for championships."

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