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Tuesday, April 16, 2024
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Law

Pat Fitzgerald Sues Northwestern $130M For Wrongful Termination

  • The sum would cover $68 million in owed salary and $62 million in future lost income.
  • The former Northwestern head football coach claims he was unaware of hazing inside his program.
Northwestern Wildcats head coach Pat Fitzgerald looks on during the second quarter against the Minnesota Golden Gophers at Huntington Bank Stadium.
Matt Krohn-USA TODAY Sports

Pat Fitzgerald is suing the university that employed him as head football coach for 17 years, alleging he was wrongfully fired following an investigation into hazing and racism within the program.

The 48-year-old is seeking $130 million in the lawsuit: $68 million in owed salary from the 10-year contract extension he signed in 2021 and $62 million in future lost income. Fitzgerald’s attorney Dan K. Webb, also said the financial restitution would cover “infliction of emotional distress.”

“If there was ever a coach at Northwestern University who should have not been terminated, it’s Coach Fitzgerald,” Webb said at a press conference.

Fitzgerald obtained legal counsel shortly after his termination in July. The former Northwestern head coach claims he was unaware of hazing inside his program — a statement backed up by a probe led by attorney Maggie Hickey. However, that report also noted “significant opportunities” to discover it.

“As head coach of the football program for 17 years, Patrick Fitzgerald was responsible for the conduct of the program,” Northwestern University said in a statement Thursday. “He had the responsibility to know that hazing was occurring and to stop it. He failed to do so.” The university added that it believes it “acted appropriately in terminating Fitzgerald.”

As of early August, nine Northwestern football players and one Northwestern volleyball player had filed or were prepared to file lawsuits against the university over allegations of sexual, physical, emotional, and racist abuse. Fitzgerald isn’t the only person retaining legal counsel regarding this issue.

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