Former Northwestern football coach Pat Fitzgerald wrote that he hired legal counsel after he was relieved of his position Monday night following a hazing scandal that has engulfed the show.
Fitzgerald was initially suspended for two weeks while Northwestern officials gathered more information about the alleged hazing that occurred. Investigators did not find «sufficient» evidence that the coaching staff knew about the hazing in progress, but there was «significant opportunity» to find out.
However, as more details emerged about the alleged hazing that took place and the racism allegations that surfaced Monday, the university announced Fitzgerald’s firing.
Fitzgerald said university president Michael Schill did not notify him of his firing.
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«Last Friday, Northwestern and I reached a mutual agreement regarding the appropriate resolution following the thorough investigation conducted by (attorney Maggie Hickey),» Fitzgerald said in a statement. «This agreement provided for a two-week suspension. Therefore, I was shocked to learn that Northwestern’s president unilaterally revoked our agreement without notice and subsequently terminated my employment.
«Given this unexpected turn of events, I have directed my agent, Bryan Harlan, and legal counsel Dan Webb of Winston & Strawn LLP, to take whatever steps are necessary to protect my rights under the law.»
Schill wrote a letter to the university community explaining the decision. He went on to say that Fitzgerald had the «opportunity to find out what was going on.»
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«There is no question that Coach Fitzgerald has had a tremendous impact on our institution, far beyond the football field. For nearly thirty years, he has dedicated himself to Northwestern as a student-athlete, assistant coach, and head coach, and It has impacted the lives of hundreds of young people. Almost all of its players have graduated and represented the University with distinction,» the letter added.
«Over the past two days, I have received hundreds upon hundreds of emails describing how he has transformed the lives of current and former student-athletes. However, as much as Coach Fitzgerald has meant to our institution and our student-athletes «We have an obligation, indeed a responsibility, to live by our values, even when it means making difficult and painful decisions like this. We must move on,» Schill wrote.
«I recognize that my decision will not be universally applauded, and there will be people in our community who vehemently disagree with it. Ultimately, I am charged with acting in the best interest of the entire University, and this decision reflects that.» . The damage done to our institution is significant, as is the damage to some of our students.»
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No successor was immediately named.