The Green Bay Packers’ search for a new head coach may turn toward Evanston because the team expects to request an interview with Northwestern’s Pat Fitzgerald after he coaches in the Holiday Bowl, according to NFL Network and ESPN.
It’s unclear whether the school would grant the request or Fitzgerald would accept the interview, but he has a history with one of the Packers’ top executives and Green Bayrepresents a unique opportunity to coach one of the NFL’s most storied franchises.
Fitzgerald, 44, began his head coaching career at Northwestern in 2006, when current Packers CEO Mark Murphy was the Wildcats’ athletic director. Reports suggest Fitzgerald and Murphy maintain a strong relationship, which helps explain the potential interest between both sides in teaming up again.
NFL teams have come calling for Fitzgerald in the past, however, only to be rebuffed by the former Wildcats star who’s found a home at his alma mater. In his 13 years running the program, which had at times been a laughingstock in the Big Ten, the team has posted a 95-70 record and three 10-win seasons. Fitzgerald also won the 2018 Big Ten Coach of the Year honors after leading an injury-plagued group to the Big Ten championship game against Ohio State.
Here’s what Fitzgerald said Sunday when asked about the reports:
The Packers have already began interviewing other candidates to replace longtime coach Mike McCarthy, who was fired Dec. 2 amid a losing season. Former Colts and Lions coach Jim Caldwell and former Colts coach Chuck Pagano have already met with the team. NFL Network also names Patriots offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels as another possible target.