After the Wildcats decided to part ways with Fitzgerald in light of the recent hazing scandal involving his program, the 48-year-old tactician released a statement sharing his intention to take legal action with regards to his dismissal.
Fitzgerald maintained his innocence in the hazing scandal, noting that he “had no knowledge whatsoever of any form of hazing within the Northwestern Football Program.” Fitzgerald, who served as the Wildcats' head coach for 17 years prior to his exit, also detailed the conversation he had with the university on how to best approach and resolve the issue.
“Last Friday, Northwestern and I came to a mutual agreement regarding the appropriate resolution following the thorough investigation conducted by Ms. Hickey. This agreement stipulated a two-week suspension. Therefore, I was surprised when I learned that the president of Northwestern unilaterally revoked our agreement without any prior notification and subsequently terminated my employment,” Fitzgerald said.
“Given this unexpected turn of events, I have entrusted my agent, Bryan Harlan, and legal counsel, Dan Webb from Winston & Strawn LLP, to take the necessary steps to protect my rights in accordance with the law.”
Here's Fitzgerald's full statement, per Pete Thamel of ESPN:
Statement attached from former Northwestern coach Pat Fitzgerald to ESPN, which includes that he's hired a high-profile attorney to "take the necessary steps to protect my rights in accordance with the law." Fitzgerald: "I was surprised when I learned that the president of… pic.twitter.com/zPNTAkr2xn
— Pete Thamel (@PeteThamel) July 11, 2023
It remains to be seen what specific actions Pat Fitzgerald and his camp will take, though it is certainly brewing to be a messy affair between the two parties. Northwestern football and the university will have to deal with the aftermath of the hazing scandal as well, which certainly won't be easy considering the massive hit in reputation they took as a result of the issue.
For those who missed it, the Northwestern football program under Fitzgerald has been accused of hazing along with sexual misconduct and racism allegations. New details highlighting the “inhumane” practice–whether Fitzgerald knew about it or not–has eventually forced the university to fire their head coach.
Hopefully the controversy doesn't go out of hand. As things currently stand, however, it's not looking good for Northwestern University.