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Managing Emotions as a Coach

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As both a star athlete and tenured coach, Pat Fitzgerald has a unique perspective on drawing the line between competitive conditioning and abusive coaching. As a linebacker for Northwestern from 1993 to 1996, he compiled numerous awards including being named Big Ten Defensive Player of the Year twice and the Big Ten Medal of Honor. After graduation, he went on to help coach at University of Maryland, Idaho and Colorado before returning to Northwestern in 2001 serving as the linebackers coach and recruiting coordinator. In 2006, Fitzgerald was selected as the head coach and has since led the team on to win two Big Ten Championships in the West Division. He was also selected as Big Ten Coach of the Year in 2018 and received the Bobby Dodd Coach of the Year Award in 2020.

In this video, Pat Fitzgerald discusses how he as a coach manages his emotions and also provides some strategies on how to help other coaches manage their emotions. He states that as a sports parent, he has come to learn and recognize that the most important conversation to have with his children is in the car ride after the game. He has implemented the same ideas into his coaching, placing a high level of importance on the post-game conversation.