Ex-Northwestern coach Pat Fitzgerald volunteering at Loyola Academy after firing amid hazing scandal

ByEric Horng and Adam Rittenberg ESPN logo
Friday, August 18, 2023
Ex-Northwestern coach Pat Fitzgerald volunteering at sons' high school
Former Northwestern football coach Pat Fitzgerald, fired amid a hazing scandal, is volunteer coaching at Loyola Academy in Wilmette where his sons go.

CHICAGO -- Former Northwestern University football coach Pat Fitzgerald is now serving as a parent volunteer for the football program at Loyola Academy, the high school in the Chicago suburbs that two of his sons attend.

RELATED: Northwestern fires Pat Fitzgerald amid hazing investigation

Fitzgerald, who coached Northwestern from 2006 until his firing July 10, went through multiple trainings and a background check and signed a code of conduct, required for all of Loyola's coaches and volunteers.

Thursday evening Fitzgerald was back on the field at Loyola Academy, giving high fives on the gridiron to high school players.

One of Fitzgerald's sons is a freshman at the school, and another is a junior. Fitzgerald's eldest son, Jack, also played at Loyola before joining Northwestern as a walk-on tight end. Jack Fitzgerald remains on Northwestern's roster but is not practicing and is working as a student assistant.

READ MORE: Some NU recruits de-commit amid fallout from hazing scandal

Northwestern fired Fitzgerald in the wake of a hazing investigation into the program. Fitzgerald said he had no knowledge of hazing incidents, and Northwestern's investigation did not find sufficient evidence that he was aware of alleged incidents that took place in the program.

More than 10 former players have filed lawsuits against the university, alleging hazing, and several have named Fitzgerald as a defendant. The former player whose allegations sparked Northwestern's initial investigation said he thought Fitzgerald was aware of hazing within the program and directed some players to be hazed.

The 48-year-old, who coached the Wildcats for 18 seasons, has repeatedly said he knew nothing of the years-long alleged hazing by players and coaches.

MORE COVERAGE: Former NU player details hazing allegations, files lawsuit

In a statement, Loyola Academy said its parent volunteers assist with several areas around the program, including "gameday management, logistics and offering fresh insight." Fitzgerald is Northwestern's all-time winningest coach with an overall record of 110-101.

Loyola Academy, located in Wilmette, Illinois, is set to begin its season Aug. 26. The Ramblers are the defending state champions in the IHSA's top division.

The Record North Shore was first to report the news of Fitzgerald volunteering at the school.

ABC7 Chicago contributed to this report