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..any interest ?.. in Northwestern's Pat Fitzgerald ? ? ?

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The Big Ten is loaded with high-profile head coaches. Ryan Day is one of the best offensive minds in college football. Jim Harbaugh is well-renowned in college and NFL circles. Tom Allen, Paul Chryst, Kirk Ferentz, P.J. Fleck, James Franklin, Scott Frost and Greg Schiano all generate headlines on a weekly basis. Even Purdue’s Jeff Brohm is well-known from his days as an XFL sweetheart.

The one who gets the least national attention of them all? He might be the best program builder of the entire bunch.

Meet Northwestern’s Pat Fitzgerald, one of college football’s most respected, yet underrated, head coaches. The 45-year-old took over the program in June 2006 following the sudden death of Randy Walker and has transformed a school known primarily for its academics into one that is now also recognized for its consistently competitive football team.Fitzgerald didn’t achieve instant success at his alma mater. He went 10-14 in his first two seasons as head coach before posting a 9-4 record in 2008 thanks to his meticulous program building methods, pro-style offense and nuanced defense. Since then, Northwestern has finished under .500 only four times and has competed for division titles on a yearly basis.NFL teams have taken notice of what Fitzgerald has achieved in the college ranks. His name has been thrown around as a candidate for head coach vacancies for nearly a decade, but he has yet to make the jump.

Could the Jets’ impending opening be the one Fitzgerald bites on?

New York should be interested in at least interviewing Fitzgerald — recent rumors suggest they are — but the feeling might not be mutual. He has earned the right to be picky when it comes to leaving Northwestern for the NFL. Why leave a comfortable situation for a high-risk gig? Fitzgerald also bleeds purple, making him even tougher to pry away.Are the Jets the opportunity Fitzgerald would jump at? From the outside looking in, there could be some intrigue. New York is on a crash course to land the No. 1 pick in the 2021 NFL draft, which would likely net it a potential franchise quarterback in Trevor Lawrence. The Jets also have a copious amount of money to spend in free agency this offseason and Joe Douglas’ presence working in their favor.With all of that being said, it’s still tough to see Fitzgerald choosing to jump into the cut-throat New York market over staying in Evanston. Northwestern’s football program is essentially his baby. He has taken the Wildcats to new heights and has more juice on the recruiting trail than ever before. Is it really worth giving all of that up to take over the lowly Jets?

The answer is probably not.

Fitzgerald would be a good fit in New York. He might not be a media darling, but he knows how to build a team from the ground up. Most importantly, he is a good in-game coach and someone players want to play for. The Jets haven’t had that in a while.It wouldn’t hurt for New York to reach out and gauge Fitzgerald’s interest. Worst case scenario, he expresses that he’s not eyeing a move to the Big Apple and it’s on to the next candidate.

If he does reciprocate the interest, though, the Jets could have a potential homerun candidate on their hands.

>   https://jetswire.usatoday.com/2020/11/28/new-york-jets-northwestern-pat-fitzgerald-head-coach-search/

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The NY Jets are reportedly “doing research on” Northwestern head coach Pat Fitzgerald.

The NY Jets are going to fire Adam Gase. It isn’t a matter of “if” but “when” at this point. So much so that they’ve reportedly already begun looking into his future replacement.

Per a recent report from uStadium, the Jets are “doing research on” Northwestern head coach Pat Fitzgerald with the thought that he could be the one to take over for Gase come 2021.Fitzgerald is one of the longest-tenured head coaches in the FBS having served as Northwestern’s head coach since 2006. A former linebacker for the Wildcats, Fitzgerald has coached at his alma mater since 2001 when he took over as the program’s defensive backs coach.He’s been at Northwestern for nearly two decades now, but he’s arguably in the midst of the best season of his coaching career. Fitzgerald has led the Wildcats to a 5-0 record and a No. 8 ranking in the national polls.

Suddenly, a Northwestern team that won just three games in 2019 is somehow in the middle of legitimate national title talks. And many have credited Fitzgerald for leading this team of overachievers.

The NY Jets are not the first team to show interest in Pat Fitzgerald

The 45-year-old has drawn interest from NFL teams in the past. Both the Carolina Panthers and Green Bay Packers reached out to Fitzgerald last offseason requesting an interview, but he declined.Meanwhile, his hometown Chicago Bears have long been linked to Fitzgerald, and the thought has always been that if he was to go to the NFL, it would be to coach the Bears.After all, Fitzgerald is an Illinois native who has coached in the state for nearly 20 years. He’s a Northwestern guy at heart, but the Bears always seemed like a realistic landing spot.

It seems like a longshot that the Jets would be able to lure Fitzgerald away from his alma mater unless they fork over an obscene sum of money. But this is exactly the type of coach they should be looking into.The old adage about college coaches failing in the NFL has been proven false time and time again in recent years. With the NFL essentially adapting to the college game, the coaching differences between the two levels grow slimmer by the year.Fitzgerald is a highly-regarded leader, a program-builder, and someone who would make for a great coach in the NFL. It’s unclear whether or not the Jets will be able to sway him away from Northwestern.

But if they could, it would undoubtedly be a step in the right direction.

>  https://thejetpress.com/2020/11/25/ny-jets-northwestern-pat-fitzgerald/


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