Rick Telander of the Chicago Sun-Times does a nice job of recounting Patrick Fitzgerald's overnight rise from recruiting coordinator and linebackers coach to head football coach at Northwestern. If you recall, Fitzgerald was named head coach at the Big Ten school after head coach Randy Walker passed away, unexpectedly, two weeks ago at the age of 52. Fitzgerald was a player for the Wildcats just nine years ago, and at just 31-years old, he is more than four decades younger than fellow Big 10 head coach Joe Paterno of Penn State. As the youngest coach in the NCAA, by more than a slight margin, Fitzgerald has his work cut out for him. Replacing an exciting and innovative offensive coach like Walker, who introduced the spread offense into the Big 10, will be a tall order. The fact that he will have to do it in the Big Ten, while replacing an NFL-bound quarterback, makes the task that much more daunting. As a college football fan, it would be nice to see the team rally around the young leader, in the wake of tragedy, and build the Northwestern program into a consistent winner. Incidentally, the first Big Ten game for Northwestern in the Fitzgerald era will be on September 30th at Penn State, where he will face--you guessed it--Joe Paterno.