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Pat Fitzgerald On Alternatives To Hazing

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Pat Fitzgerald (@coachfitz51), a PCA National Advisory Board Member, is the Northwestern University Head Football Coach. Prior to coaching, his College Football Hall of Fame career included twice being named All-America, twice winning both the Bronko Nagurski and Chuck Bednarik Awards, and leading Northwestern to back-to-back Big Ten titles and a Rose Bowl appearance in the mid-90's.

As a coach, Fitzgerald has a zero-tolerance policy for hazing, which he discusses in this video clip. Under no circumstances is hazing allowed on his team, and he makes sure the entire team understands the rules. He suggests finding alternatives for positive team-building activities. He certainly sees the benefits of welcoming new members to a team, but urges existing team members to see how harmful a hazing incident could be for the team dynamic and individual players involved.

Fitzgerald says that coaches, too, should remember what it’s like to be a new member of a team before giving new players a hard time. Especially at the collegiate level, when players are leaving home and entering into a new life, a coach should try to nurture these players the best they can rather than feel the need to “initiate” them to the team with a rough approach.