Commentary: Fitz Elected to College Football Hall of Fame
by Jonathan Hodges

On May 1, the National Football Foundation announced that Pat Fitzgerald is part of the 2008 class of inductees into the College Football Hall of Fame.  First off, congratulations go out to Fitz for this well-deserved honor and it most definitely makes all of us 'Cats fans proud, especially since he is now the face of the Northwestern football program in the form of its head coach.

As the article highlights, and most NU fans know, Fitz earned both the Nagurski and Bednarik awards for the nation's top defensive player for two consecutive years (nobody else has won both awards multiple times).  And, of course, he led the 'Cats to two consecutive Big Ten titles and the Rose and Citrus bowls.  He was most definitely the on the field leader of those storied '95 and '96 squads.

He will be inducted along with other well known college players (Troy Aikman, Thurman Thomas, Wilber Marshall, among 13 total inductees) and coaches (John Cooper and Lou Holtz).  As one may also notice, he is by far the most recent player on the ballot, the next closest is Troy Aikman, whose last year of college football was 1988.  This again highlights the accomplishment for Fitz.  One of the criteria is that players are not eligible until a minimum of 10 years after they played in their last intercollegiate game, and this marks only the 12th year after Fitz's last games in 1996 (not counting the 1997 Citrus Bowl).

The induction ceremony will be held on December 9, 2008 in New York and the enshrinement will occur in South Bend during 2009.

Of course Northwestern fans hope that some day Coach Fitz will also be considered for enshrinement as a coach, but what we do know is that right now he has the 'Cats headed in the right direction.

Go 'Cats!!!

e-mail: j-hodges@alumni.northwestern.edu

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jhodges is the primary content provider of HailToPurple.com.  His commentary and game analyses appear regularly during the season and occasionally in the offseason.