Northwestern Saga Takes New Turn As Former Coaches Sue The University

Getty Image

Things seemingly got even worse for Northwestern University over the weekend as news emerged that three former coaches were suing the institution.

The downward spiral began months ago with news that the football program was under investigation for alleged hazing.

Investigators revealed that there was, in fact, hazing taking place. But it also stated that head coach Pat Fitzgerald was likely unaware of the abuse.

The university suspended Fitzgerald for two weeks.

Though shortly after, more allegations emerged and Northwestern turned around and fired the longtime coach.

That didn’t sit well with many remaining staffers, who recently wore shirts in defense of their former head coach to a Wildcats practice.

Since the firing, more and more allegations about improper behaviors have emerged throughout the athletic department.

A former volleyball player filed a lawsuit against the university alleging hazing, and baseball coach Jim Foster was fired over alleged abuse of his players.

Now three former baseball staffers are suing the university as well.

The staffers claim they suffered  “retaliatory discharge, harassment, bullying and abuse” from Foster.

“In the lawsuit, former assistant coaches Dusty Napoleon and Jon Strauss and former director of baseball operations Chris Beacom will allege that Foster created an environment so toxic that they did not want to travel with the team when its season began in February. When they raised these concerns with the athletic department, they allege they were subject to retaliation,” Sports Illustrated’s Patrick Andres reports.

The staffers further claim that the university conducted a three-month investigation before ultimately deciding to handle matters “internally.”

They were each later either demoted or fired outright.

It’s a rough look for  Northwestern University athletic director Derrick Gragg, who recently called out the football coaches supporting Fitzgerald for being “tone death.”

Gragg took over for now ACC commissioner Jim Phillips in 2001. Phillips was the AD at the time of the alleged hazing within the football program.