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The Case for Pat Fitzgerald

Discussion in 'Colorado Football Message Board' started by Buffnik, Nov 15, 2010.

  1. Buffnik

    Buffnik Real name isn't Nik Club Member Junta Member

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    Fitzgerald doesn't get publicized much for the CU job and I think it's because people don't know much about him. I think he brings the whole package we are looking for. I was really surprised with his close ties to CU people and the influence the Buff way has had throughout his playing and coaching careers.

    Here's the bio.

    Personal
    Born December 2, 1974 in Orland Park, IL
    Married (Stacy) with 3 sons (Jack, Ryan, Brendan)

    Player
    Northwestern LB from 1993 to 1996
    Recruited by Gary Barnett and played all 4 years for him
    Saw a 2-9 team in 1993 develop into back-to-back Big 10 Champs in 1995 and 1996
    Led those championship teams as back-to-back Big 10 Defensive Player of the Year
    Also only back-to-back winner of Bronko Nagurski Trophy and Chuck Bednarik Award
    Inducted into College Football Hall of Fame in 2008
    1 Year in NFL with Dallas Cowboys in 1997

    Coach
    1998: Linebackers Coach with Maryland under HC Ron Vanderlinden (Buff coach from 1983-1991)
    1999: Linebackers Coach with Colorado under HC Gary Barnett
    2000: Linebackers Coach with Idaho under HC Tom Cable (Buff coach from 1992-1999)
    2001-2005: Linebackers Coach with Northwestern
    2006-present: Head Coach with Northwestern

    Noteworthy:

    Mike Bohn was the Idaho Athletic Director when Fitzgerald coached there.
    Hired Mike Hankwitz (former Buff Defensive Coordinator) to be his DC in 2008.
    American Football Coaches Association Ethics Committee since 2009.
    Salary is $750,000 per year with a contract through 2015.

    Summary of Northwestern performance:

    Fitzgerald was preceded at Northwestern by Randy Walker. Walker had a losing record in 4/7 seasons at Northwestern with a season best of 8-4 in 2000. His last 3 seasons, the team had improved to consistent mediocrity going 6-7, 6-6, 7-5 in 2003, 2004, 2005. Walker then suddenly died in June of 2006, apparently from a heart attack.

    Fitzgerald was named the Head Coach at only 31 years old under these difficult circumstances and went 4-8 his first season. He followed that up by going 6-6 in 2007, 9-4 in 2008, and 8-5 in 2009.

    The 2010 team is currently 7-3 with games against Illinois and Wisconsin remaining. Realistically, they'd be fortunate to win one of them as their star quarterback Dan Persa (who was also leading the team in rushing) ruptured his Achilles during the post-game celebration after the win over #13 Iowa.

    Negatives on Fitzgerald:

    I see two potential issues.

    First, he is not a big name on the west coast despite his success as a BCS head coach. We need to energize our existing boosters and make a splash with our potential west coast boosters. The timing with a move to the Pac-12 in 2011 means that this hire needs to make a big splash.

    Second, Fitzgerald has not really been part of an elite recruiting environment with a program that is regularly competing against Top 25 programs for the top prospects. He did have the 1 year in Colorado, so that statement isn't completely true, but that's still just 1 year. Most of his career has been at Northwestern where their class is always ranked outside the top 50.

    Thoughts?
     
  2. Buffsfan09

    Buffsfan09 Member

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    I like him but if NU is his alma mater, why would he leave? I don't peg him as a Rich Rod type, besides, we couldn't buy out his contract.
     
  3. NashBuff

    NashBuff CSU Knob-Slobberer

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    I love the idea but I'm not sure if he wants to leave his job at the point and he's not a west coast type of guy. If he wants the CU job, we ought to get him.
     
  4. DrunkPanda

    DrunkPanda Active Member

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    would much rather have him than calhoun. not my top choice but i'd be happy with him
     
  5. Duff Man

    Duff Man Moderator Club Member Junta Member

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    Who are the assistants going to be? It is the same basic question with every candidate. I get most people like the fact he hired Hankwitz as his DC, but who is going to be on the staff to help recruit and win in the Pac-12. Not sure Fitzgerald's contacts are all that extensive.
     
  6. UrbanaBuff

    UrbanaBuff Member

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    If he was LB coach in '99, what was Cabral doing that year?
     
  7. CUFan

    CUFan Welcome back Club Member

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    His bio seems pretty decent for such a young coach.

    My reservation: Who is he? This is the first I have ever heard of him (not saying much considering I don't watch much Big 10 football).
     
  8. UrbanaBuff

    UrbanaBuff Member

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    Though I despise NU and Fitz, I think he'd be a coup if we could land him. I mainly despise him because of his success. He's one of those guys who can "take his guys and beat your guys, then take your guys and beat his guys."

    Seriously, the guy is very intelligent and uber-emotional. He is a student of the game and he knows how to fill out his staff. And for those of us who missed the passion/excitement under Hawkins, you will love Fitz. He takes every Big Ten rivalry personally, and he uses anecdotes from his own career to motivate his team against Illinois, Iowa, etc. This no doubt inspires them in the underdog role. His playing experience is likely very valuable on the recruiting trail, as it was not only recent, but dominant (he is one of the best LB's to ever play college football).

    My only reservation is that he is an NU guy, so why would he leave? I guess the only answer here is ambition, which I believe him to possess (he was the youngest D-1 coach a few years back, at 31) in large quantities.
     
  9. ThndringHerd

    ThndringHerd Well-Known Member

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    Like - defensive pedigree, Buff ties

    Dislike - lack of coordinator exp on the resume, and his AC exp doesn't really address our deficiencies (QB, secondary, RB, ST). If it's possible to have a lower media profile than AFA, Northwestern is it.

    Questions - seems like the biggest legit rap against Calhoun is that he hasn't beat a top 10 team. Has Fitzgerald beaten tOSU or Wisc?
     
  10. UrbanaBuff

    UrbanaBuff Member

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    You seriously don't remember him?

    [​IMG]
     
  11. Lt.Col.FrankSlade

    Lt.Col.FrankSlade Well-Known Member

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    He was never the actual LB coach. He was a defensive grad assistant with Barnett, I believe.

    Pat Fitzgerald is a Northwestern Alum. He got the job when the prior coach died unexpectedly in the middle of the season. While I think he is a nice coach, and I'd be fine with him in the grand scheme of things - I would not expect him to leave unless we threw a TON of money his direction.
     
  12. Lt.Col.FrankSlade

    Lt.Col.FrankSlade Well-Known Member

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    Yes, they beat Wisconsin in 2009.

    Northwestern has NOT beaten tOSU since he's been the coach.
     
  13. Junction

    Junction Moderator Club Member

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    Don't know about top 10, but he did beat a #13 team last weekend...
     
  14. UrbanaBuff

    UrbanaBuff Member

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    Fitz has beaten Wisconsin numerous times, but they are hardly conference royalty. That said, I don't think Fitz has fared well against the OSU's and UM's of the world.

    Interestingly, one of his strengths is winning on the road in conference play. Go figure.

     
  15. UrbanaBuff

    UrbanaBuff Member

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    Fitz does own Iowa, which is kind of hard to believe.

     
  16. Duff Man

    Duff Man Moderator Club Member Junta Member

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    He beat Wisconsin last season and he owns Iowa. Otherwise, the record against top 10-15 programs is mediocre to bad.
     
  17. CUFan

    CUFan Welcome back Club Member

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    I really don't. The only guy that immediately comes to mind from a Northwestern team was Darnell Autry or Autry Denson? I can't remember, one was at NW and the ND. I recall them both having success at similar times.

    I was in college at the time he played and really didn't see any games other than CU. I was and am not a well traveled college football guy.

    Like I wrote, his credentials seem pretty darn good.
     
  18. BinaryBuff

    BinaryBuff mmmm...beer Club Member

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    I'd be excited if we got Fitzgerald. I just don't see him leaving though.
     
  19. UrbanaBuff

    UrbanaBuff Member

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    As a player, he was cut from a throwback cloth. Not uber-athletic like many LB's we see today. But super tough and fundamentally sound. Like a Dick Butkus.

    As a coach, he was named HC at a young age. As such, he supplemented his experience by keeping the same system in place as his predecessor and hiring good coordinators. It's hard to judge his recruiting considering NU's academic hurdles and lack of history.

     
  20. CUFan

    CUFan Welcome back Club Member

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    I like his credentials and I love the throwback toughness. I would love to develop a tough team identity focusing on a strong defense. Sounds like he may be that sort of guy.
     
  21. SanDiegoBuff

    SanDiegoBuff Club Member Club Member

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    So he took a team that was averaging ~7 wins a season with a high of 8-4 to a team that averages 7 wins a season with a high of 9-3. Color me unimpressed. He may be an up and comer and he may have the credentials, but his record speaks for itself.

    If we're going to reach for an 'up and comer' with the credentials, give me a Hoke type that takes a team and improves them and coaches them up rather than someone that maintains the status quo.
     
  22. SuperD

    SuperD Club Member Club Member

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    Wasn't this guy essentially the Northwestern equivalent of an EB type candidate? Why would we want to have the Northwestern version of EB when we can have EB (yes I recognize that he now has HC experience). Also I don't think I see him ditching his Alma Mater for CU, it's not like he'd be getting offered Michigan, OSU, or Alabama. Plus I can't see Gary talking up the opportunity when Fitzgerald calls him to get the 411 on the Colorado situation.
     
  23. UrbanaBuff

    UrbanaBuff Member

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    You apparently don't know the Big Ten. This is about as improbable as Vanderbilt ripping through the SEC for 8-9 wins every year. Or, what Harbaugh is doing at Stanford (which most of us think is nothing short of amazing). Northwestern went like 30 straight seasons without a winning season, and even went like 3-4 straight seasons without a single win. Barnett had a few good years, but Fitz steadied the ship.

     
  24. buff4bcs1985

    buff4bcs1985 Hail to the King

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    fitzgerald is a lower tier 1 guy for me... id rather have him than mac or eb...but if richt or miles want it... id rather have them
     
    Last edited: Nov 15, 2010
  25. SanDiegoBuff

    SanDiegoBuff Club Member Club Member

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    Please, their run of 30 straight losing seasons ended 15 years ago, not last year, not 5 years ago, 15. In college football terms, that's a lifetime, recruits the last 5 years don't see the toilet Northwestern team, they see the Cinderella that's been pimped by the media and is averaging 6-7 wins a year. It's not like Fitzgerald came in after two good years and laid a new foundation. He's maintained a slightly better record than Barnett and basically the same record as Walker in the previous decade. He's taken a program that was built up and turned around by Barnett and Walker and operates in a college football environment that's much different than even 15 years ago with scholarship limits and in an era when even marginal teams are on TV most of the time.

    In fact, I'm sure you probably said the same thing about Hawkins coming out of Boise St 5 years ago since the histories are largely similar, NW just has a much tougher conference to deal with.
     
    Last edited: Nov 15, 2010
  26. Clean Undies

    Clean Undies Flagship of the 12-Pac Club Member

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    It would subject us to mockery by name alone.
    Did you hear about the gay Irish couple?

    Patrick Fitzgerald and Gerald Fitzpatrick.

    NTTIAWWT.
     
  27. Darian3Hagan

    Darian3Hagan '89 Player of the Year Club Member

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    GB run at NW was much more impressive whats he doing these days?
     
  28. InTheBuff

    InTheBuff Club Member Club Member

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    it's of the opinion of Tom Kenzler (Denver Post) that Fitzgerald isn't a consideration because he's tied too closely to Gary Barnett...
    heard this on the noon hour on 1510 a.m.

    Kenzler likes Fitzgerald but thinks it's not a direction CU will go.
     
  29. ThndringHerd

    ThndringHerd Well-Known Member

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    On the bubble with this one. How's his hair?
     
  30. azbuff

    azbuff Club Member Club Member

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    Pat Fitzgerald isn't coming here, why would he? He's from the Chicago area, and has built up a lot of goodwill and job security at his alma mater. The CU job is better, but I don't see him leaving unless its for a Top 10 program or the NFL.
     

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