Fitzgerald, the program's all-time winningest coach, has guided his alma mater to two 10-win campaigns and a pair of bowl victories in the last five years. A two-time national defensive player of the year as a Northwestern linebacker and 2008 College Football Hall of Fame inductee, Fitzgerald has been a member of the Wildcats' football coaching staff since 2001 and NU's head coach since 2006. Of Northwestern's 13 all-time bowl appearances, the Orland Park, Illinois, native has been a part of 11 as either a Wildcats student-athlete or coach.
Collins guided the Wildcats to a school-record 24 victories, a berth in the Big Ten Tournament semifinal, and the program's first NCAA Tournament victory in 2016-17. Northwestern has increased its season win total in each of the four seasons he has been at the helm in Evanston.