Interim Northwestern football coach speaks out for 1st time publicly at Big 10 media day

Northwestern hazing allegations surfaced earlier this month, leading to head coach's firing

Wednesday, July 26, 2023
Interim NU football coach speaks for 1st time publicly at media day
After the Northwestern football hazing allegations, the school's interim coach is speaking out the first time at the Big 10 media day Wednesday.

CHICAGO (WLS) -- Wednesday was the first time the interim Northwestern football coach has spoken publicly since Pat Fitzgerald's firing, as football coaches from the Big 10 are talking.

Several players have accused the school of hazing.

David Braun was not the only one facing tough questions at the Big 10 media day Wednesday.

Anyone taking that podium has been grilled by reporters about what they're doing to keep hazing out of college football programs.

The event is taking place in Indianapolis at Lucas Oil Stadium, and the big story unfolding is Northwestern's participation in this annual event.

Braun was hired earlier this year as the Wildcats' defensive coordinator, but was elevated to the head coaching position following Fitzgerald's dismissal.

SEE MORE: Noted civil rights attorney Ben Crump files Northwestern University hazing suit

Several former Northwestern football players have filed lawsuits against the university for various alleged hazing incidents, and there are more lawsuits to come.

Fitzgerald has maintained he had no knowledge of any alleged hazing, and he's fighting his termination.

Braun said Wednesday morning that this has been a very difficult time for the team and the university.

"I won't speak to the current allegations. I fully trust that the university is going through a process and will make decisions based on the facts. What I can speak to is how proud I am of the way that our team has come together with all this stuff swirling around our football team and their absolute resolve and confidence from our leadership within our team of how we're gonna move forward," Braun said.

This is also the first time the Big Ten has commented on the case.

The new Big Ten commissioner Tony Petitti said the conference is not launching an investigation at this point, and is waiting to see the results of the two investigations being led by Northwestern.

"Our focus has been on moving forward with what they're doing and keeping me informed about the investigations and what they're doing on campus. With respect to Coach Braun, we've been able to connect. My first was to congratulate him on the opportunity. It didn't happen the way I'm sure he envisioned in terms of becoming a head coach at this level, but at the same time, I wanted him to know that we're here to support him going forward," Petitti said.

Northwestern was also scheduled to bring three players to media days, but those players released a statement saying they weren't coming because they felt their participation would have been dominated by the hazing issue.