Northwestern paid football coach Pat Fitzgerald more than $5.1 million in 2017

Northwestern University football coach Pat Fitzgerald was credited with more than $5.1 million in total compensation for the 2017 calendar year, according to the university’s new federal tax return.

The amount represents an increase of just over $1.5 million compared to what the school reported for Fitzgerald for 2016.

As a private school, Northwestern is not required to make its employment agreements public, but in April 2017, the university announced it had signed Fitzgerald to a contract extension running through the 2026 season.

The likely impact of the new agreement is seen in both Fitzgerald’s base compensation and in what the return calls “other reportable compensation,” a category that covers taxable amounts other than base pay, bonuses and deferred or retirement compensation.

Fitzgerald had $4.06 million in base pay in 2017 — $1 million more than had been reported for him in each of the previous three years.

He had $714,197 in other reportable compensation in 2017 — about $500,000 more than had been reported for him in each of the previous two years. Fitzgerald also received $307,500 in bonuses in 2017, the same amount reported for him in 2016.

Northwestern football coach Pat Fitzgerald (Photo: CHARLIE NEIBERGALL, AP)

Fitzgerald’s 2017 base compensation alone probably would have put him among the nation’s top 20 football coaches in terms of total pay that season, based on USA TODAY Sports' annual survey of coaches’ pay. It would have put him among the top half of coaches in the 14-school Big Ten Conference.

Northwestern’s new tax return also included figures for athletics director Jim Phillips, who was credited with nearly $2.1 million in total compensation for 2017. His base salary was just over $1 million, and he received $585,500 in bonuses.

In addition, the document said he continued to have the benefit of two loans. One, with an original principal amount of $1.1 million, had a balance due of $193,333 as of Aug. 31, 2018. The other, with an original principal amount of $300,000, remained due in full.

Among private schools that reported 2017 pay amounts for athletics directors on tax records filed earlier this year, Notre Dame’s Jack Swarbrick was credited with nearly $1.7 million; Baylor’s Mack Rhoades $1.65 million (excluding more than $1.25 million the school said it paid in conjunction with a contract buyout he owed Missouri), and Duke’s Kevin White with nearly $1.6 million.  

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