Fitzgerald's previous contract, which was most recently extended in 2009, was set to expire in 2017. A Fitzgerald departure was unlikely, but it was a must for Jim Phillips to lock in the head coach.
"It is paramount for Northwestern football to have great leadership," said Phillips in a statement. "There is no better individual to lead Chicago's Big Ten Team than Pat. He is a tremendous teacher, and truly values developing young men athletically, academically and socially. Our Football program is having unprecedented success—on the football field, in the classroom and in the community—and that is due to Pat's outstanding leadership.
This deal has reportedly been in the works since mid-January when multiple teams, including Michigan, contacted Fitzgerald about their coaching vacancy. NU athletic director Jim Phillips showed commitment to Fitzgerald, but also to the entire football program with this deal.
Part of the agreement includes assurances for renovations to the football facilities at Northwestern, including changes to Ryan Field or the possible construction of a new stadium.
"Northwestern is committed to giving our football program all the necessary resources to do tremendous things on and off the field," Phillips said. "We certainly are excited to receive the results from our Master Facility Plan which will help direct the next steps regarding our athletic facilities."
Fitzgerald has compiled a 34-29 record during his five seasons as Northwestern's head coach. He has led the Wildcats to three-straight bowl appearances for the first time in program history. Most recently, he was named the 1World Sports Coach of the Year.
For the official release from NU Media Relations, click HERE