EVANSTON, Ill. (AP) — The way coach David Braun supports his players prompted Northwestern to remove the “interim” label from his job title, school President Michael Schill said Thursday.
“I have been very clear that at Northwestern the well-being of our students comes first,” Schill said. “It is only by prioritizing our students’ health, safety and well-being that we can enable excellence on the field, excellence in the classroom, that we can encourage the personal and intellectual growth that is fundamental to our mission as one of the greatest universities in the world. Anyone who has heard or talked with Coach Braun knows that he embodies these principles in just a short time since arriving at Northwestern.”
Schill spoke at a news conference a day after the school announced it is sticking with Braun beyond this season.
Braun, Northwestern’s 30th head football coach, was hired as defensive coordinator in January. He took over as interim coach on July 10, three days after longtime coach Pat Fitzgerald was fired in the wake of a hazing and abuse scandal that has enveloped other Northwestern teams.
The Wildcats (5-5, 3-4 Big Ten) are one win away from bowl eligibility heading into a home game against Purdue on Saturday. They have more wins than in the previous two seasons combined, after going 3-9 in 2021 and 1-11 last year.
“I immediately was blown away with the quality of young men that make up this program,” Braun said. “The relationships that you know you’ve allowed us to build is something that that I absolutely cherish. I’ll be very clear: The opportunity that exists for our family only exists because of you guys. Your willingness to buy in and galvanize and come together really embody what this football program is all about.”
Braun had never coached at an FBS program let alone led one. But after spending the past four seasons as defensive coordinator at FCS powerhouse North Dakota State, he has been a steadying force for the Wildcats.
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