Northwestern will retain its assistant coaches and support staff for the 2023 season in the wake of coach Pat Fitzgerald’s firing, the school told ESPN.
Athletic director Derrick Gragg, who returned Tuesday from an overseas trip, informed the coaches and staff of their status in a meeting. Gragg is set to meet with the team later Tuesday.
Defensive coordinator David Braun is managing the program as a liaison and could become the Wildcats’ interim coach, according to sources. But Gragg did not announce an interim coach in Tuesday’s meeting.
Braun, one of five new assistants who joined the team this offseason, previously served as defensive coordinator at North Dakota State.
Northwestern fired Fitzgerald on Monday amid the fallout from an investigation of hazing within the program. The school on Friday released an executive summary of the investigation, which did not find evidence Fitzgerald or the assistant coaches knew of hazing incidents, but noted that they had opportunities to identify problems and report them. The summary did not name any coaches other than Fitzgerald, and no players.
The school informed players of Fitzgerald’s dismissal Monday in a meeting that sources described as emotional and tense. Fitzgerald briefly addressed the team, as did Braun and offensive coordinator Mike Bajakian. Gragg addressed the group via Zoom before leaving without taking questions, which angered some players.
Schill did not attend the meeting, and a player told ESPN that their absences in the room showed “how cowardly they are.”
Northwestern is set to begin preseason practices in August, and will open the season Sept. 3 at Rutgers.