Pat Fitzgerald responds to criticism of sideline antics

Submitted by unWavering on November 12th, 2012 at 5:02 PM

This ESPN article details what Pat Fitzgerald was thinking when he displayed that embarrassing behavior on the sidelines on Saturday.

"Our tone and our attitude on the boundary wasn't very good," Fitzgerald explained Monday. "It got pretty negative, we had some stuff go against us. So as a motivator, you've got a couple options. Sometimes, you've got to be a disciplinarian. Sometimes, you've got to be a guy who's going to give somebody a hug and be there. And sometimes you've got to be a clown and a knucklehead."

Personally, I think his explanation is a pretty weak one.  Being a motivator doesn't mean you have to be a knucklehead, especially since they were losing at the time and were benefitting from a personal foul call.

Bonus:  The article features this gif of Danny Hope, which is pretty hilarious.


The FannMan

November 12th, 2012 at 5:48 PM ^

My problem is that Beyer was right there.  It was borderline taunting of a player on another team who had just made a huge mistake.  It was a DB move pure and simple.


November 12th, 2012 at 5:49 PM ^

His over-exuberance for a personal foul call--which was not even for a potentially more legitimate reason like a TD, game-winning FG, sack, or goal line stand--upset his karma ... if you believe in that kind of stuff


November 12th, 2012 at 5:52 PM ^

He just made himself look stupid, end of story. Nothing overly malicious or amoral, not a big deal, he just comes off as a clown, like he puts it. Fine by me


November 12th, 2012 at 5:54 PM ^

I like Fitz. One of the better representatives of the Big Ten. But that was kind of embarrassing. And I don't buy that it was a sarcastic response to not getting calls all day. I think he lost his composure. Not the end of the world, but not his best moment. 


November 12th, 2012 at 5:58 PM ^

I don't like him. He was doing that same double arm raise after they beat Michigan in the rain a couple of years back. He's supposed to be the coach, not a player. Even if he's happy while raising his arms in triumph, it makes him look like a twit. It was funny to see the clip of him sacking Brian Griese during the game, because he was doing that same double arm raise when he was a player. It's his trademark I guess.




November 12th, 2012 at 6:46 PM ^

He adds a lot of personality to the conference. He coaches and talks like football is just a game, and I think a lot of us could use a reminder of that, sometimes.


November 12th, 2012 at 6:51 PM ^

He generally is not a douche and I have much respect for the job that he does at N'western. We all have our moments that we're not real proud of, here was his. IMHO


November 12th, 2012 at 6:53 PM ^

In the overall scheme of things, and I was sitting right behim Fitzgerald when he was jumping around like a clown, it didn't matter.  I'm much more pissed off about the reffing in the MSU-Nebraska game that probably cost us a trip to Indy.


November 13th, 2012 at 5:48 AM ^

No offense to all the voters out there but this is fact. Blaming MSU, PSU, or the refs for costing us a trip to Indy when all we had to do was win is pretty lame. Just because it isn't a warm and fuzzy response doesn't mean it's flamebait. I would +1 you if I could.


November 12th, 2012 at 7:18 PM ^

I didn't have a problem with it at all. He probably felt immense disappointment that the play appeared to not be a success, and then saw the flag and, along with most of us, assumed that it had sealed a win for his team. What we were feeling in disappointment was what he was feeling in excitment. 

Now, had he been chirping or taunting Desmond Morgan after the flag came out, it would be a different story.


November 13th, 2012 at 1:48 AM ^

That's my take exactly.  His team got a first down in a critical moment in the game when they needed to score. Who would have not jumped up and down, excited for an extremely important first down??? The self righteousness on this board is incredible! You're a hypocrite for blasting Fitz if/when you would have done the same thing in a critical moment.  What's he supposed to do? Coddle his QB? They just moved 15 yards closer to the endzone (for perhaps the WIN!) vs it being 3rd and long.  Get over your hypocritical selves, people.  And give Fitz some benefit of the doubt here...


November 13th, 2012 at 10:00 AM ^

I hate when people tell me what I would have done. I coach a lot and have never done anything like that.  Even in make it or break it momements you try to have some composure.  There is a way to show enthusiasm without jumping up and down like a 9 year old girl that just got a pony for Christmas.

Now this isn't douchebaggery on a Dantonio scale, but let's just say that Fitz has used up his stupidity points and will be watched closely from here on out. I'm sure he's a nice guy and a good coach, but that was pure bush league.


November 12th, 2012 at 7:55 PM ^

given Fitzgerald's career, my tremendous respect for him as a player and coach I find this explination very disatisfying.

I still love the guy and what he's done for Northwestern but that's some weak sauce.

Phil Brickma

November 12th, 2012 at 8:07 PM ^

Let the records show that the only place I've seen anyone bitching about this on MGoBlog. So...yeah.

I'm going to file this in the "Who Gives A Shit?" category and move on to more pressing needs: What do we sacrifice to AIRBHG to keep him in Iowa City?


November 12th, 2012 at 8:15 PM ^

The tone of this board would be a lot different had we lost.  As it were, he looked like a fool for a few moments in an intense game in a key situation.  Time to move on.


November 12th, 2012 at 9:48 PM ^

i have no problem with the way fitzgerald acted, if  someone were to put a camera in my house while i watched a UM game, i would probably look similar. he just happen to have a tv camera capture his actions, i honestly believe he had no idea how dumb he looked


November 12th, 2012 at 10:19 PM ^

Along the same lines. I'm a big fan of coaches that show their emotions during the game so long as it isn't direct negatively toward players. If you are at a school with limited talent and history maybe that little extra emotion inspires the players a little. The first one is awesome just because every word can be heard.



Mr. Yost

November 12th, 2012 at 11:20 PM ^

Anyone who wants to hate on Fitz really needs to go somewhere far, far, FAR away and never come back.

Fitzgerald is a GREAT coach. He loves his program and he wants like HELL to take NW to the next level. I saw nothing wrong with that he did...he was just trying to motivate his team. He didn't show up ANYONE on Michigan. He wasn't in anyone's face, he was just trying to put some emotion into his team.

Face it, I don't care if Michigan is ranked or not...when you're NW and you beat them, it's a HUGE win.

If Michigan didn't have Hoke, the best coach in the conference. They'd be honored to have Fitz, the 2nd best coach. Hoke and Fitzgerald also have tremendous respect for one and other.


If you didn't read any of the above. Maybe this will sink in: If you don't like Pat Fitzgerald. You can't like Jordan Kovacs. They're one in the same. May not have all the tools, but they're going to give you EVERYTHING they have to win and fight like hell for their team.


November 13th, 2012 at 9:16 AM ^

With Fitz strongly suggest he is a classy guy. I have met and played for/against a lot of B1G coaches in all sports and Pat Fitzgerald noticeably has his act together more than most. I can't forget the '06 PSU/NU game when PSU came from behind to win. I was fortunate to be on both sidelines during that game and I came away much more impressed with how Fitz interacted with his kids than any other coach that day. Even though NU suffered a mind-blowing loss that included PSU making a 4th and 20 inside their own 10 with a minute to play.

I wrote about other interactions I have had with Fitz in the other thread. Over a 5 year period I really have nothing bad to say about him.


November 13th, 2012 at 1:12 AM ^

I was a few beers in and in section 10. When I saw the flag fly I pointed out to my buddy "look at that idiot jumping on the sideline" he then asked who it was and I told him"gotta be a student assistant or something. Pat Fitzgerald is better than that". Was kinda upset to find out it was him. I have great respect for what he has done there but that was terrible sideline behavior for a head coach


November 13th, 2012 at 2:24 AM ^

what play might players not get hurt from?  It's freaking football!  It's not like it was a nasty rip your head off Gholston style penalty or anything. The dude was knocked out of bounds late... and a first down ensued and the winning TD got closer and closer. 


I just watched the play again (and replay).  It really didn't seem to be a ROUGH late hit at all... And Fitz was RIGHT THERE watching it all ensue.  I mean, I'm not a Fitz fan, and I don't really care to defend him, but his reaction just doesn't seem to justify all the HATE on this board.  I don't get it. 


November 13th, 2012 at 3:56 AM ^

Was it less than classy? Yes. Was it borderline childish? Yes. But it's not a very big deal within the context of that game and certainly not in the wider context of college football behavior. It's no "60 minutes of unncessary roughness" statement.

Besides, his punishment will be his childrenand grandchildren never being able to escape the gif of that moment when the google the old man.


November 13th, 2012 at 8:21 AM ^

He looked like an immature teenager. That being said, I don't think it's that big of a deal and regardless
of what he is saying about his actions, I'm sure he is embarrassed behind closed doors.

That being said, at the moment I was watching him jump around, I was kinda glad he decided to not leave NW when we were conducting our coaching search a few years ago.


November 13th, 2012 at 9:48 AM ^

I keep seeing people say, "Well, if there was a camera in my living room..." Well, there isn't one. We aren't paid a lot of money to be public representatives of a university. Fitzgerald is. Did he jump around like that when his team scored a td to take the lead with 4 minutes to go? No. He only did this after a personal foul on his QB. The guy is a douche. If there were a camera in my living room, then I'd adjust my behavior. I certainly wouldn't jump around like a fool after a personal foul on my qb. Now, I might jump around like a fool after Rountree makes an amazing catch, after Gibbons kicks the tying field goal, after DG scores the go-ahead td in OT, or after Demens makes a monstrous stop on 4th and 2 to end the game...but not for some random  pf call that you don't even know is going to result in a score.