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Pat Fitzgerald on the Value of Using Conditioning for Accountability

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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 the changes he has seen in the game of football when using conditioning as a form of punishment. He states that physical conditioning is only one piece of the puzzle, and being mentally and emotionally prepared is just as important.