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Big Ten Football Team Reportedly Fires Multiple Coaches Following 1-Win Season

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Northwestern purged part of its coaching staff following its worst season record (1-11) since 1989.

Defensive coordinator Jim O'Neil, defensive line coach Marty Long and wide receivers coach Dennis Springer were all fired on Tuesday.

Longtime Northwestern head coach Pat Fitzgerald said these "difficult decisions were made with the intention of putting our team in the best position for success on gameday moving forward."

Fitzgerald and O'Neil worked together as assistants at Northwestern in 2003 and 2004. Fitzgerald brought O'Neil back on the Wildcats staff in early 2021 following the retirement of Mike Hankwitz, who had been at Northwestern since 2008. Under O'Neil during the past two seasons, Northwestern's defense ranked 91st nationally in points allowed and 117th in yards per rush allowed.

Long has been with Northwestern since the 2008 season and Springer joined the staff before the 2011 season.

"Our entire football family is grateful for what these three men brought to our program on and off the field," Fitzgerald said in a statement. "They recruited and developed student-athletes who will be prepared for life and make our University community proud for years to come. Marty and Dennis have been Wildcats for more than a decade and helped lead us to two division titles and five bowl championships."

The Wildcats last won the Big Ten West in 2020. They were Big Ten co-champions in 2000 when the team finished 8–4 with a 6–2 conference record. The school has eight Big Ten championships, but the last solo title came in 1995.

Northwestern hasn't won a game since its first of the season against Nebraska, which it narrowly evaded, 31-28, on Aug. 27.

The process to fill the vacant roles will begin immediately.