Why former Northwestern coach Pat Fitzgerald was at the Iowa-Michigan State game

Former Northwestern coach Pat Fitzgerald was spotted on the sidelines at Kinnick Stadium for Iowa's matchup with Michigan State on Saturday. But not as an opposing head coach.

Fitzgerald was fired from Northwestern this offseason after an investigation found evidence of hazing in the program. He is the winningest coach in Northwestern history with an overall record of 111-101 and is one of the school's best former players.

Fitzgerald, alongside the school and several school officials, is currently facing several lawsuits from former Northwestern players. So why was the former Wildcats coach on the sidelines of Kinnick Stadium for the Hawkeyes' game vs. the Spartans? He was on a recruiting trip of sorts, accompanying several of his players — including his son — to the game.

Here's what you need to know:

Why is Pat Fitzgerald at Iowa vs. Michigan State?

It was once a foregone conclusion that all of Fitzgerald's sons would attend Northwestern to play under Fitzgerald. But while his eldest son Jack is a freshman for the Wildcats this year, his younger sons are now looking elsewhere:

Fitzgerald is currently a volunteer assistant at Loyola Academy, the prep school in Wilmette, Illinois, where his sons play football. He accompanied several Loyola students to the game, including one of his sons, Ryan, a quarterback, and Drew MacPherson, a 2025 running back, on unofficial visits.

Fitzgerald also interacted with Iowa men's basketball coach Fran McCaffery and Michigan State men's basketball coach Tom Izzo.

In 2010, Northwestern running back Adonis Smith told the Northwestern News Network that Fitzgerald "hates (Iowa). I know that for a fact. He hates Iowa.”

Fitzgerald laughed off the comments, telling the media that “it's so fun when you guys listen to freshmen. Give me a break.”

In recent years, Fitzgerald and Iowa football coach Kirk Ferentz were complimentary of one another, including after Fitzgerald's firing.

“I’m not going to say we don’t know each other,” Ferentz told The Gazette at the Big Ten’s football media days in July. “We do. I have great respect for Pat. He’s a tremendous person.”

This article originally appeared on Nashville Tennessean: Why was Pat Fitzgerald at the Iowa-Michigan State game?