Just like that, Northwestern head coach Pat Fitzgerald is out of a job. Due to some head-turning hazing allegations being brought to light, the Big Ten school decided to part ways with the veteran head coach on Monday. So, who could replace him?
The Athletic's Bruce Feldman, an authority for college football news, has put together a list of potential replacements for the program. Per Feldman, the expectation is that Northwestern will go with an interim coach this season and then look for a full-time replacement to take over next campaign. NY Giants offensive coordinator Mike Kafka was mentioned in Feldman's piece, but even he thinks it's a long shot.
Mike Kafka is entering his second season as OC of the New York Giants
"The dream candidate for the school probably would be Kafka, a 35-year-old former Wildcat QB who grew up in Chicago and has risen fast up the NFL ranks. Northwestern has been terrible on offense for awhile; Kafka seems like he could fix that pretty quickly, but he’s not far from becoming an NFL head coach at this point. He interviewed for a bunch of jobs last winter, so why jump into the craziness of the college game at a place that just canned someone he learned under?"- Bruce Feldman
The love for one's alma mater is quite high, but as Feldman noted, Kafka was a target for NFL HC jobs this past offseason and it feels like he'll be targeted once again this winter. As much as he might adore Northwestern, a school he tossed for 4,265 yards and 19 touchdowns at, this would be a step back for him.
Things didn't go perfect for Kafka in 2022 with the Giants, but there's no question he played a big role in Daniel Jones stepping his game up. The G-Men surprised everyone by going 9-7-1 and taking down the Vikings in the Divisional Round. Kafka deserves a lot of credit for that.
Entering the '23 season, Kafka has more weapons at his disposal, including Jalin Hyatt, Darren Waller and Parris Campbell. The NY offense should be a lot of fun to watch in the coming months. Once the year comes to a close, we expect Kafka's name to be brought up several times for teams who are in need of a new head coach.
As for a move to the college ranks? A reunion with Northwestern would be a fun story for the young OC, but it's not likely.