Report: Northwestern to name David Braun permanent football coach
League: NCAA Football
Posted on: 15 Nov, 2023 at 08:09 PM
Credit: David Banks-USA TODAY Sports
Northwestern will name David Braun as its head football coach on a permanent basis, ESPN reported Wednesday.
Braun was thrust into the job as interim coach in July after Northwestern dismissed Pat Fitzgerald amid allegations of hazing.
Northwestern is 5-5 (3-4 Big Ten) and needs to defeat either Purdue at home on Saturday or Illinois on the road on Nov. 25 to become bowl eligible.
The Wildcats last played in a bowl game in 2020, winning the Citrus Bowl to cap a 7-2 campaign in the pandemic shortened season. In Fitzgerald's final two seasons, Northwestern was a combined 4-20.
Hired as defensive coordinator in January, Braun never had been part of an FBS coaching staff when Fitzgerald plucked him from North Dakota State, where he was an assistant coach at the FCS powerhouse from 2019-22. The Bison won two FCS national championships (2019, 2021) and two Missouri Valley Football Conference crowns in his first three seasons, and they boasted the country's No. 1 scoring defense both title years.
A graduate of Winona State and a former defensive lineman there, Braun also was an assistant coach at NAIA program Culver-Stockton (2010), Division II Winona State (2011-14) and FCS program UC Davis (2015-16). He spent two seasons at Northern Iowa before accepting the position at North Dakota State.
The last first-year Northwestern coach to win five games was Walter McCornack, whose team was 10-1-3 in 1903.
ESPN reported that the search committee for a new coach has been impressed by the Wildcats' play as well as Braun's dealing with players and his appearances at news conferences.
Fitzgerald has filed a multi-millon-dollar wrongful termination suit against the university and president Michael Schill. More than a dozen former players have sued the school, contending they were victims of mistreatment and hazing.
--Field Level Media