Pat Fitzgerald Says Northwestern Is 'Home Forever' Amid Packers HC Rumors

Tim Daniels@TimDanielsBRFeatured ColumnistJanuary 1, 2019

INDIANAPOLIS, INDIANA - DECEMBER 01: Head coach Pat Fitzgerald of the Northwestern Wildcats reacts after blocked field goal against the Ohio State Buckeyes in the fourth quarter at Lucas Oil Stadium on December 01, 2018 in Indianapolis, Indiana. (Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images)
Joe Robbins/Getty Images

Northwestern Wildcats head football coach Pat Fitzgerald said he's "not going anywhere" after being linked to the Green Bay Packers' head coaching vacancy.

Fitzgerald discussed his future with Joel Klatt of Fox Sports (via Matt Fortuna of The Athletic) after the Wildcats' 31-20 comeback victory over the Utah Utes in Monday night's Holiday Bowl.

"Hashtag 'Go Cats,' man," he said. "I'm not going anywhere. This is home forever."

On Sunday, ESPN's Adam Schefter reported the Packers would request an interview with Fitzgerald following the bowl game, though it was unclear whether he'd accept the invitation.

The 44-year-old Northwestern alumnus is an Illinois native who played college ball for the Wildcats from 1993 through 1996. He returned to the program as an assistant coach in 2001 and worked his way up the ladder to become head coach in 2006.

Fitzgerald has guided the Wildcats to a 96-70 record across 13 years, including a 9-5 mark this season counting the New Year's Eve triumph over Utah. The team has also won three straight bowl games and four of its past five after starting 0-4 in postseason contests during his tenure.

He signed a 10-year contract extension with Northwestern in April 2017 to keep him tied to the school through 2026. His $3.6 million salary for 2018 ranked 31st among college football coaches, per USA Today.

With Fitzgerald seemingly set to remain with the Wildcats, the Packers will have to look elsewhere to find a full-time replacement for Mike McCarthy, who was fired in early December.

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The New England Patriots' Josh McDaniels, Tennessee Titans' Matt LaFleur, and former Indianapolis Colts and Detroit Lions head coach Jim Caldwell are among the other possible candidates.