Northwestern Names David Braun as Interim Football Coach Amid Hazing Allegations: Players Seek Clarity and Continuity

Northwestern Appoints DC David Braun as Interim Football Coach Amid Allegations

Northwestern University has named David Braun, its defensive coordinator, as the interim head coach for the upcoming 2023 season, according to sources. This decision follows the recent firing of coach Pat Fitzgerald in light of hazing allegations within the program. Braun, who joined Northwestern as defensive coordinator in January, arrived after the hazing investigation had already begun. Previously, he was awarded FCS Coordinator of the Year in 2021 during his four-season tenure at North Dakota State, where he served as the coordinator and defensive playcaller for two national championship staffs.

One of Braun’s immediate tasks as interim coach will be to maintain the Northwestern roster, as several players and parents are unhappy with the handling of Fitzgerald’s departure. The players have a four-week window in which they can transfer without facing any penalties. In a recent team meeting, the Northwestern players voiced their desire for clarity on the program’s future and continuity in the coaching staff to President Michael Schill and Athletic Director Derrick Gragg.

Braun had effectively been acting as the head coach since Fitzgerald’s termination earlier this week. The players expressed during the team meeting that officially naming him as the interim coach would provide the clarity and continuity they were seeking moving forward. Prior to joining Northwestern, Braun arrived in the wake of Northwestern’s disappointing 1-11 season in 2022, which prompted a staff shake-up resulting in the firing of defensive coordinator Jim O’Neil.

This upcoming season will be Braun’s first in FBS football, despite his experience at NDSU, Northern Iowa, UC Davis, Winona State, and Culver-Stockton. With Northwestern aiming to rebuild and address the hazing allegations, Braun’s appointment as interim head coach will play a crucial role in establishing stability and ensuring the program’s future success.

As the Northwestern community grapples with the fallout from the hazing allegations, Braun’s transition to the interim role is seen as a step towards healing and progress. The university administration and athletic department will closely monitor developments in the program, striving to provide an environment that prioritizes the well-being and development of its student-athletes.

Overall, Northwestern’s decision to appoint David Braun as their interim football coach demonstrates their commitment to addressing the hazing allegations and moving forward as a program. With Braun’s experience and leadership qualities, the university hopes to rebuild trust with the players and create a positive environment that fosters growth and success on and off the field. The upcoming season will be a significant test for Braun as he navigates the challenges of leading a team and reshaping the program amidst adversity. Northwestern and its players are eager to begin this new chapter, with Braun at the helm, as they strive for a fresh start and a brighter future.