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Pat Fitzgerald tells great story about his first interview at Northwestern
Before Pat Fitzgerald returned to Evanston to coach the Wildcats as a member of the late Randy Walker's staff, he was coaching the linebackers out at Idaho, just a few short years removed from his playing days as one of the most dominant linebackers in Big Ten history.
In an interview with NUSports.com, Fitz talks about receiving the initial call to come back to Evanston to interview for a vacant defensive assistant job, and what it was like to interview with then Wildcat head coach Randy Walker.
In the interview, he spends some time talking about sitting in coach Walker's office during the interview (and then later at dinner) and not once did football come up. First and foremost, coach Walker wanted to make sure that anyone that he was going to bring into the program was going to have their priorities straight and that starts and ends with the players, any football knowledge was icing on the cake.
Anyone that has sat down with coach Fitz knows that he's one of the best head coaches to sit down and shoot the breeze with, and this story about coach Walker is a perfect example of that.
"So we sat in his office and we talked for about an hour, and we didn't spend one minute talking about football." Fitz explained. "It was all about who I was as a person, what I believed in, what it meant to me to be a coach, my family, my upbringing. Why I want to coach? Why here? Really it was more about getting to know each other than it was about 'what do I know as a football coach'."
Fitz wraps up with what impressed him about that first meeting with coach Walker and the impression that Walker has left on him since his passing.
"That was coach Walker. Not once did we talk about football. We talked about who my family was and what they were about, who I was, and what I was going to do for the young men and how I was going to make a difference in their lives. He really didn't care that I played here, and he really didn't care about the things that were accomplished when I was a player here. He wanted to know about the difference that I was going to make in our student athletes lives and that's something that I now carry with me everyday."
"I've had the opportunity to have some new additions to our staff over the past eight years, and it's funny, I interview people a lot like coach Walk interviewed me."
That's just the tip of the iceberg, there's plenty more below. Really interesting stuff.