Fitzgerald has always talked about taking his program beyond what those two football teams did.Winning the Big Ten West is the first on-field goal for a team that graduates all their players every year.247Sports got a chance to talk with Fitzgerald last week with the finishing touches of the 0 million renovation providing ambience to the conversation, clanks of construction and beeps of vehicles.Fitzgerald heads into his 13th season at his alma mater at just 42 years old, having turned down past opportunities for a faster road to prominence at other universities to build up the only one he loves. — The view from Northwestern’s new practice field is how Pat Fitzgerald has always viewed his football program. The brand spanking new Ryan Fieldhouse and Walter Athletics Center was just a promising vision seven years ago, but now it presides as the pinnacle of facilities in college football today, highlighted by the same gorgeous view from either the indoor or outdoor practice fields of Lake Michigan that seems to go on forever.Stand in the middle of either field and it looks the turf just drops into the water.“We’re not going to change who we recruit from a DNA perspective, who the young men are academically, their character, what we see on video,” Fitzgerald said.
“It’s great for recruiting obviously, but the day-to-day is why we built what we built where we built and why we built everything for our student-athletes,” Fitzgerald said.
I think we’ve had success because a blue-collar mentality and that needs to just continue now with the technology we’re able to take advantage of.” Northwestern is currently sitting on the nation’s No.
28 recruiting class per the industry-generated 247Sports Composite.
He is 87-65 as the head coach since taking over in 2006, completely changing the culture of a program that otherwise remained mostly unchanged, utilizing pretty much the exact same facilities Fitzgerald had as a player.
Western Michigan, not to mention anyone in the Big Ten, had a better setup than the Wildcats from a training standpoint. “To me that’s probably the most exciting aspect,” Fitzgerald said.