Pat Fitzgerald Named Dodd Trophy Coach of the Week
Fitzgerald recognized for upset win over No. 20 Wisconsin and highest APR score in the FBS
ATLANTA (Oct. 30, 2018) – Officials from the Bobby Dodd Coach of the Year Foundation and Chick-fil-A Peach Bowl today announced that Northwestern Head Football Coach Pat Fitzgerald has been selected as The Dodd Trophy Coach of the Week.
The Dodd Trophy Coach of the Week award honors the football coach whose program embodies the award’s three pillars of scholarship, leadership and integrity, while also having success on the playing field during the previous week.
Coach Fitzgerald and the Wildcats secured their first 5-1 start in Big Ten play since 2000 on Saturday, after defeating the No. 20 Wisconsin Badgers 31-17 at Ryan Field. This was Northwestern’s second win against a ranked team this season, after beating No. 20 Michigan State in East Lansing a few weeks earlier. The win also gave the Wildcats their third win in the last five meetings versus Wisconsin and represented the program’s 12th victory in its last 13 Big Ten contests.
“Coach Fitzgerald has turned Northwestern into a formidable force in the Big Ten,” said Jim Terry, chairman of the Bobby Dodd Coach of the Year Foundation. “He has excelled in all aspects of being a college football coach, and has truly created a tradition of excellence for Northwestern’s program both on and off the field.”
Fitzgerald is in his 13th year as head coach of the Wildcats and is the second-longest tenured head coach in Big Ten history. Under his leadership, Northwestern has made eight bowl appearances in the last 12 seasons, and has secured three of the program’s four all-time bowl wins. In 2017, Northwestern finished the season ranked No. 17 in both the AP Top 25 Poll and the College football Playoff Poll. The win against Kentucky in the 2017 Franklin American Mortgage Music City Bowl capped off the 2017 season with 10 wins for the fifth time in program history and the third time in the last six seasons.
In addition to his efforts on the field, Coach Fitzgerald has led his program in the classroom ranking first among all FBS programs in the multi-year Academic Progress Rating (APR), posting a score of 997 out of a possible 1,000 in the measure of player retention and eligibility. Last fall, a record 39 Wildcats were placed on the Academic All-Big Ten team and in the 2015-2016 academic year, Northwestern had a program-best 3.14 GPA.
“Coach Fitzgerald is someone who truly exemplifies Coach Dodd’s three pillars of scholarship, leadership and Integrity,” said Peach Bowl, Inc. CEO & President Gary Stokan. “He has led a team that is not only competitive on the field, but has set a benchmark for other programs to aspire to in the classroom and community as well.”
Fitzgerald, his family and his players participate in several charitable events throughout the community including: Northwestern Dance Marathon, Special Olympics, Misericordia and Uplifting Athletes. The team also makes weekly school and children’s hospital visits, along with contributing to dozens of other organizations. In recognition of his work off of the football field, Fitzgerald was recently named honorary coach of the 2017 Allstate AFCA Good Works Team for demonstrating a unique dedication to community service and desire to make a positive impact on the lives of others.
A panel consisting of all previous winners, national media, a member of the Dodd family and a College Football Hall of Fame member will identify the final list of potential recipients for The Dodd Trophy at the conclusion of the 2018 season. The winner of the 2018 Dodd Trophy will then be announced in Atlanta during Chick-fil-A Peach Bowl Week.