As you’d expect from one of the longest-tenured head coaches in college football, Pat Fitzgerald commands a salary rivaling the best in the Big Ten Conference. Let’s break down what we know about Fitzgerald’s salary, contract, and net worth at Northwestern.
Pat Fitzgerald’s Salary and Contract in 2023
Having joined Northwestern as head coach in 2006, the former Wildcat linebacker is the second longest-tenured coach in the Big Ten, with only Iowa’s Kirk Ferentz having been in post longer. As NFL interest swirled in early 2021, Northwestern extended Fitzgerald’s contract — keeping him in Evanston through 2030.
After leading the Wildcats to three double-digit win seasons during his time coaching Northwestern and Big Ten Championship Game appearances in 2018 and 2020, Fitzgerald was hot property in the NFL coaching cycle following the 2020 campaign.
However, according to a December 2020 report from ESPN’s Adam Schefter, that wasn’t the first time the Northwestern head coach had attracted NFL attention. Schefter stated that Fitzgerald had fielded inquiries from nine NFL teams between 2016 and 2020. The Carolina Panthers and Green Bay Packers were named as two teams with confirmed interest.
As a result, in January 2021, Northwestern athletic director Jim Phillips handed Fitzgerald a 10-year contract extension that ties the Wildcats head coach to the program.
On announcing the extension, Phillips described the leader of his program as “one of the best coaches in college football” while praising his all-around contribution to the program.
“Over the course of his tenure, Coach Fitzgerald has built a culture of unwavering belief in excellence, both on and off the field, and led our Wildcats to unprecedented sustained success. They boast incredible achievement in the classroom, in the community, and in competition, and will for years to come.”
So, how much is Fitzgerald’s salary for the 2023 college football campaign as a result of his 2021 contract extension? Well, that’s where things get a little complicated and unclear.
As a private university, Northwestern is under no obligation to make its financial agreements with staff available to the public. While there is some historical information for Fitzgerald’s salary, future compensation hasn’t been revealed for the Wildcats head coach.
What we do know, according to USA TODAY, is that Fitzgerald earned $3,619,775 in 2018. His salary received a substantial boost in 2019 as a result of bonuses earned during the 2018 campaign, with the Northwestern head coach taking home $5,144,937. In 2020, he earned $5,218,658, with $4.7 million in base salary alone.
In the first year of his most recent contract extension, Fitzgerald took home $5,748,179. Most head coach contracts have an annual incremental increase woven into them, so the assumption is that Fitzgerald’s salary in 2023 could surpass $6 million.
Fitzgerald’s Net Worth
As Northwestern doesn’t provide a full financial breakdown of Fitzgerald’s salary under the terms of his 2021 contract extension, establishing his net worth is pure guesswork.
If we presume that Fitzgerald’s 2023 salary is in the ballpark of $6 million and take that as the average annual salary, it would put his net worth through the term of his current at $60 million.
That doesn’t take into account any potential bonuses that the Northwestern head coach might accrue for on-field success or academic achievement of the program in the future.
While contract specifics aren’t available, Football Scoop reported in 2022 that Fitzgerald earned a salary boost of $960,000 in 2019 as a result of guiding Northwestern to the Big Ten Championship Game.