Fitzgerald’s Best Lines



Paul M. Banks recaps the best moments from a season of Pat Fitzgerald press conferences

F. Scott Fitzgerald once said “there are no second acts in American life,” but for Pat Fitzgerald and Northwestern University, the opposite is true. Pat succeeded as back-to-back National Defensive player of the year in 1995 and 1996 and then became head coach at the same school exactly ten years later. In ’08 he lead the Wildcats to just the fifth 9 win season in school history and could match the school record for single season wins should he lead them to triumph in their bowl game.

Pat Fitzgerald may not be F. Scott when it comes to wordsmanship, but his press conferences this season have yielded quite a few interesting quotations. On Tuesday he will be inducted into the National College Football Hall of Fame, adding another happy chapter to Fitzgerald’s American dream story. As NU prepares for bowl selection, Athletic Director Jim Phillips takes an aggressive approach towards pitching bowl committees, conveying what Wildcat faithful bring to the table. Along those lines, Fitz extolled the virtues of the “recession-proof” class of people in the NU alumni base…

“If a bowl site wants the best and brightest in college football, by far the highest per-capita income of any Big Ten team of alumni base in the conference, the economy has affected us the least.”

And how those NU alumni have tremendous consumer confidence, almost bordering on consumer arrogance…

“We’ll be there to sell our tickets and buy all the purple and white they can sell”

gatsby.jpg fitzgerald.jpg

Of course, I had to include the praise he’s lavished on the media this fall

“It’s the highlight of my week right here, talking to you guys. No other place I’d rather be”

Awww thanks

“For all of the great writing that you guys are going to do. The great reporting too.”

Can you tell I’m blushing as I type this?

His response to how much we write about his season-long “Flush it” cliche…

“As you guys have so eloquently documented”

When a reporter asked a question and interrupted someone else, instead of properly waiting for the microphone, as presser protocol dictates.

“That’s more demerits for you. We’re going to take your credentials away.”

When a student reporter asked him, for some bizarre reason, if he would play both quarterbacks, C.J. Bacher and Mike Kafka, at the same time “to confuse” the opposition…

“You confused me with that question”


And an answer that might validate the idea that women are not truly as attracted to sense of humor as they claim to be…

“I guess I’m pretty boring Jim, that’s why Stacy’s hung out with me so long”

At the end of a hilarious rant in response to someone asking him about Northwestern getting more respect…

“And if you don’t respect the job that myself and the coaches are doing than shame on you…In my opinion….and I say that humbly.”

When a reporter asked/compared Big Ten defensive player of the year James Laurinaitis to how Fitz was when he was a player…

“Don’t insult me- please”

After Homecoming, his presser included three Orland Park references (SICA! Holla!) and even an allusion to Zak Kustok. When the topic of Steve Schnur, former QB teammate on the 1995 Rose Bowl team came up…

“He couldn’t run to save his life”

Pat ends all his weekly Monday press conferences with “Go Cats,” therefore I thought it would be fitting I end this segment with a quote aptly describing his “purple heart.”

In referring to the adversity that led to his current position of power and the hardships he’s dealt with along the way…

“I look at it a different way, I look at it that I have a lot to be thankful for. The opportunity I was given to attend Northwestern University as a student athlete, to be surrounded by the young men, coaches, students and the faculty here presented me an opportunity to get better. And then the opportunity to come back when Coach Walker offered me the opportunity to come back as an assistant coach at my alma mater, and now to the most difficult circumstance I’ve been through in my life to be put into this role, I couldn’t be more proud to be a Wildcat.”

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  1. It will be interesting to see where they end up tomorrow, I would guess Alamo Bowl

  2. does Fitz have a “next man-in philosophy” like Bret Bielema? whenever a player gets injured, it’s the next man in’s turn to step up

  3. I’m familiar with the “next-man in” philosophy…a staple of coaches. Fitz calls his mantra “respond” so do all the players. when someone gets injured the next guy on the depth chart “responds”

  4. Matt Saracen #QB1 says

    Go Fitz! I’ll “respond” when my # is called.

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