Northwestern University announced late Wednesday that interim coach David Braun has been named Northwestern University’s new head football coach.

The new title takes effect immediately. Braun becomes the 30th head football coach in University history.

President Michael Schill and Vice President for Athletics & Recreation Derrick Gragg will introduce Braun as the new head coach at noon Thursday at a press conference in Ryan Fieldhouse.

Braun has led the Wildcats to a 5-5 record while serving as interim head coach. Schill praised Braun for his leadership both on and off the field.

“We asked Dave to support our student-athletes this season, and he has done an exceptional job,” Schill said in a statement.

“Under his guidance, Northwestern’s football team has exceeded expectations on the field and excelled in the classroom. The turnaround he has led, under very difficult circumstances, is nothing short of phenomenal.

“I have had the opportunity to sit down with Coach Braun in recent months, meetings that re-affirmed what I saw on the field and heard from people close to the program — that Dave’s values are Northwestern’s values,” Schill said. “I couldn’t be happier that he will permanently lead our student-athletes on the gridiron.”

Braun joined Northwestern in January as the team’s defensive coordinator. He was named interim head coach for the 2023 season in July after Pat Fitzgerald was dismissed in the midst of a hazing scandal.

Fitzgerald has filed suit challenging his dismissal.

“I am truly honored for the opportunity to continue leading Northwestern’s football program,” Braun said in a statement.

“Over the past five months, having the chance to lead this group has been the opportunity of a lifetime,” he added. “Moving forward, my mission is to build on this positive momentum, aiming to create one of the best experiences in college football for our student-athletes. 

Braun is the first Northwestern head coach to win five games in his first season since Walter McCornack led his Wildcats to a 10-1 record and a Co-Big Ten Championship in 1903.

Bill Smith is the editor and publisher of Evanston Now.

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