EVANSTON, Ill. (WSCR) – Northwestern Wildcats head football coach Pat Fitzgerald said resuming the team’s historic rivalry against Notre Dame is “great for Chicago fans.”
On the Mully & Hanley Show Friday morning, Fitzgerald discussed the Thursday announcement that the Wildcats will head to South Bend to take on the Fighting Irish on Nov. 15, 2014, and Notre Dame will visit Ryan Field during the 2018 season.
LISTEN: Wildcats Coach Pat Fitzgerald On The Mully & Hanley Show
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The teams have played each other 47 times since their first meetup in 1889. But the schools have met only four times, between 1992 and 1995, since the 1976 season.
“To get our longest-standing, most popular non-conference foe going back to 1889 back on the schedule is just exciting, and I think it’s great for Chicago fans, and we’re Chicago’s Big Ten team, so we want to add our most popular non-conference foe, and hopefully we can do more than just two,” Fitzgerald said.
He pointed out that the last game between Northwestern and Notre Dame in 1995 was “a catalyst to our run for the Roses, and quite frankly, you look from that time on, we’ve turned our program around on the field, and the support that we’ve received from our fans, and from our administration and our alumni, it’s just been spectacular.”
But 2018 is a long way off. Could there be a new stadium for the Wildcats by then?
Fitzgerald wouldn’t answer that. “Keep spreading rumors,” he said.
But while he wouldn’t talk about any possible plans for a stadium to replace Ryan Field that might have been discussed he was signed for a long-term deal, Fitzgerald said he does have a major mission.
“We’ve made, I think, a vision and a goal. We don’t just want to be members of the Big Ten conference. We want to win the conference consistently,” he said.
The Wildcats’ spring exhibition game is set for noon Saturday at Ryan Field in Evanston.