Given the improved performance of NU's football since the 6-6 campaign of 2011-2012, Pat Fitzgerald has been considered a 'hot coaching' prospect by many in the national media. Prior to Brady Hoke taking the position at Michigan, it was rumored/reported that Pat Fitzgerald was a key candidate of Michigan's. I have no issue with this at all, and think it speaks well for Pat Fitzgerald's coaching cache that he is respected and considered often in so many places. The team's performance so far this year has been outstanding, and at 2-0, ranked #16/#17, the attention on him and program is only increasing. College GameDay will hopefully (likely) be coming to Northwestern and Evanston, so the topic of keeping Fitz will generate more buzz as a general coaching hot prospect.
However, recently, I have heard Pat Fitzgerald's name specifically with Texas and USC, two of the Mt. Rushmore programs in college football. Both programs have everything to succeed at a perennial BCS bowl/National Championship cotender level (i.e. tradition, facilities, fanbase, access to recruits, cache amongst younger players, NFL stars, recent National Titles, weather, etc), and their coaching searches will produce some A+ list names with an A+ salary/length of contract.
First off, I do NOT expect Pat Fitzgerald to leave. While I think Pat Fitzgerald loves being at Northwestern, he is also smart and aware enough to realize that winning the Gator Bowl or going 5-3 in conference will get him fired at both those universities. While we can argue that Pat Fitzgerald could produce better results given the improved set of variables, it is still an unknown. I've seen two coaches win B1G championships at Northwestern with the same or even greater hurdles, something Pat Fitzgerald has yet to come close to, when your best season is 5-3 in the conference, you haven't been close enough (i.e. 8-0, 7-1, or even 6-2 in the right year).
Second, and the primary purpose of my post, is this notion of, "Pat Fitzgerald will never leave because of 'loyalty and love' for Northwestern." I find this logic better unusual and borderline hypocritical by many NU fans and alumni. Northwestern is a top 15 national, private university, meaning their students come from all of the country and the world and leave the Evanston/Chicago area after graduation for graduate schools and/or jobs. So, let me ask the following set of questions,
If you are a student from outside Chicago/Illinois/or the Midwest, are you disloyal to your home area for leaving to attend Northwestern? No.
If you graduate from Northwestern and go to a different graduate school, are you disloyal to Northwestern? No.
If you have a partner or marry someone from a different university, are you disloyal to Northwestern? No.
If you leave the Chicago area, are you disloyal to Northwestern? No.
If you have kids that desire or go to a different university, whether better or worse ranked than Northwestern, are you disloyal to Northwestern? No.
If you didn't go to Northwestern (for undergrad or graduate school), but root for Northwestern for any reason, are you disloyal to your school? No.
I could go on and on, so this notion that if Pat Fitzgerald left for a different university, he would be 'disloyal' to NU is beyond me. The majority of NU fans and alums come from different areas, marry different people, and go on to different areas, why should Pat Fitzgerald be any different?
I've also heard that Pat Fitzgerald's dream is to coach his kids at Northwestern. Well, there are tons of assumptions in that statement, first off, how would anyone know that they are D1/BCS level players worthy of a scholarship to a B1G school in the first place? I don't have an issue with nepotism, but I do have an issue with blind nepotism.
I've also heard that NU's wealthy alum would shell out the money for Pat Fitzgerald to stay and not go anywhere. Well, I think people who say that don't really have any background in NU's fundraising, whether for the university or the athletic department. Pat Fitzgerald is reported to make $1.8 mil/year, both Texas and USC jobs could easily garner $5 mil +/year, currently Mack Brown makes $5.3 mil/year. Are you telling me that NU's alumni donor base could generate an additional $3+ mil/year just to pay Pat Fitzgerald? If so, please contact me, and I would love to have you assist me and many volunteers in trying to raise funds for NU on a quarterly/semi-annual basis. Currently, this is a university with a 32% alumni giving rate, and the only B1G school that coming off one of the more recent successful seasons found the need to 'tarp' significant parts of the stadium, so let's be realistic in terms of what donors are willing to do/give on an annual/recurring basis to keep a football coach. It is 'relatively' easy to fundraise for a once/10-12 year facility, i.e. Ryan Fieldhouse, but for a recurring donation to keep the coach, that is highly unlikely. When I fundraised recently for Ryan Fieldhouse, the fifteen or so current donors were more than estastic with Pat Fitzgerald and their Gator Bowl memories/in-person expierance, but those people were making donations between $1k - $5k/year, so that's a huge difference from $1.8 mil to $5 + mil.
I've also heard that Pat Fitzgerald being an alum makes him highly unlikely to leave. Well, goodness, currently in the AP Top 25, only two schools have an 'alum' as their coach, Stanford's David Shaw and Northwestern's Pat Fitzgerald, so I guess every other coach must have been disloyal at some level to leave their alma mater to coach. Heck, given that so many people are so into 'alumni loyalty,' you all must be upset that NU's president Mortan Schapiro, NU's athletic director Jim Phillips, and NU's head basketball coach Chris Collins (three of the most prominent and visible positions at Northwestern) are NOT alums. Why the double standard now?
So, in conclusion, if you want Pat Fitzgerald to stay at NU, great. If you like Pat Fitzgerald on a personal level, then wouldn't you want him to be happy to take the best opportunity for him and his family? I want him to stay as well, but to be shocked/upset/saddened/mad etc, that he would leave for a different job is hypocritical when majority of you would do the same thing. How many people can honestly say they wouldn't leave their job for another job if I could double your salary and upgrade/eliminate every current hurdle you have?