The attorney for former Northwestern coach Pat Fitzgerald is seeking a December trial date for Fitzgerald’s wrongful termination lawsuit against the university, primarily because Fitzgerald wants to avoid sitting out a third season before coaching again.
During a virtual court hearing Tuesday in Chicago, attorney Dan Webb said Fitzgerald, who Northwestern president Michael Schill fired July 10 in the wake of hazing allegations within the program, would not be rehired until his case is resolved.
Fitzgerald appeared in the virtual hearing alongside Webb.
Fitzgerald did not coach college football last fall and has not been hired to a college staff for the 2024 season. In October, Fitzgerald filed a lawsuit against Northwestern and Schill for breach of contract and defamation, in which he sought more than $130 million in lost earnings as well as reputational and punitive damages.
“I’m told by experts that if he misses that third season, then it’s going to have a severe impact on his ability to ever get a chance to get any kind of comparable coaching job,” Webb said. “It’s just the way football coaching [hiring] works. Football coaching decisions are made by teams in December, so in December of 2024 and January 2025, there will be decisions made on who’s going to coach in the 2025 season.
“I was trying to rescue his ability to compete in 2025.”