"This has been one of our top priorities the past few months," said Northwestern Athletics Director Jim Phillips. "There is no doubt that Pat is the right individual to lead Northwestern's football program well into the future."
Fitzgerald was named the school's 29th head coach July 7, 2006, several days after then-Coach Randy Walker died suddenly of a heart attack. Walker had coached the Wildcats for seven seasons.
Fitzgerald joined the Northwestern coaching staff in 2001 as a defensive secondary coach before moving to linebackers coach in 2002. In 2004, he was named the program's recruiting coordinator.
Northwestern is 19-18 since Fitzgerald took the reins. This past season the Wildcats were 9-4 and lost in overtime to Missouri in the Alamo Bowl. It was only the fifth nine-win season in the program's 127-year history and first bowl game since 2005.