Coaches Caravan Notes

On Wednesday, group of Northwestern coaches joined Wildcat fans at the summer's second Coaches Caravan event. Pat Fitzgerald, Bill Carmody, Joe McKeown, and Kate Drohan each spoke to the audience during a Q&A session. Here are some notes from the evening.

• Likey a good preparation for next week's Big Ten Media Days, Pat Fitzgerald was asked what the addition of Nebraska means to the conference. Fitzgerald said, "It's raised the ante at the center of the table to be the Big Ten champion."

• Speaking of the Huskers and the Big Ten, Fitzgerald joked (maybe) that he will have the Illinois State Police set up baracades to keep the "Red Army" from invading Evanston in two years.

• Women's basketball head coach Joe McKeown touched on his summer recruitment. He joked how a prospective recruit saw his "Wildcats" jacket and was excited about meeting the Kansas State coach.

• When asked of the rising expectations for each program, Coach McKeown said, "There's a buzz on our campus now."

• Men's basketball coach Bill Carmody added, "We want to win championships, we want to compete at the highest level, and we want to win."

• Carmody said that Michael Thompson is evaluating his options for the future, but will likely end up playing basketball professionally in Europe.

• Fitzgerald was asked of his stance on sanctions against programs like Ohio State. He talked about how this has been going on forever; the reporting is just more frequent. He added that each conference needs to work to police these issues.

• Fitzgerald would continue when Auburn was mentioned, "We should've beaten them in the Outback Bowl, if it weren't for that bad call in the end."

• Coach McKeown compared incoming freshman Morgan Jones to Magic Johnson. High praise, though Jones was a McDonald's All-American.

• A light and comical Pat Fitzgerald grew serious when talking about recruiting—more specifically, bringing in the right kind of guys. He said, "Just type in a school's name and ‘police' into Google. You don't read about our kids, and that's by design. I'm not going to recruit some chump star turd. If you want to root for another team because they're getting 25-star recruits, that's fine."

• One audience member asked about the process of selling Northwestern to recruits with the current facilities. While each coach described the potential positives of updated facilities, Coach McKeown said, "Once our kids are here, I think they enjoy being a student-athlete here."

• Softball coach Kate Drohan spoke of athletic director Jim Phillip's involvement with each program. She laughed—although not joking—"he's in our huddle at every single home game."

• A fan asked Pat Fitzgerald what he said was a lingering question—whether Northwestern would've beaten USC in the Rose Bowl if he was healthy. He answered no, and joked he would've had a hard time guarding Keyshawn Johnson.

• Bill Carmody updated questions of how the team's schedule looks in 2011. He confirmed Northwestern will be hosting Baylor at Welsh-Ryan Arena.

• The highlight of the Q&A came when Pat Fitzgerald compared Northwestern's offense to that of runner-up Oregon. He said, "We actually play faster than they do. But they're sexy because of those ugly uniforms."

• If you thought the Q&A would go without a Dan Persa update, you lost a bad bet, though it did take 40 minutes for the question to be asked. Emcee Dave Eanet asked Coach Fitzgerald about his quarterback. He said, "(Persa) is gaining on 100 percent. We expect him to rock and roll at the start of camp." will have more from the Coaches Caravan. Coming soon, we'll have a story on the experienced offensive line and how Alex Marcotullio will have a bigger role with the basketball team this season.

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