“Mike Hankwitz is the coaches’ coach. He develops young men, he is a great leader, amazing teacher. He develops young coaches. I hope he becomes a household name.” – Pat Fitzgerald, postgame ABC interview immediately following NU’s win over No. 10 Wisconsin.
In 51 years of collegiate coaching, Mike Hankwitz has compiled an overall record of 398-205-7 record. According to a recent survey of DI Football SIDs, no active coach (head or assistant) has been part of more victories than Mike Hankwitz. In the last six seasons, Hankwitz’s defenses have ranked in the Top-35 for total defense in the country four times. Helped NU to a berth in the 2018 Big Ten Championship Game, fist in program history. Defensive coordinator for four of NU’s five all-time bowl victories. Hankwitz was named the program’s defensive coordinator in 1988. Colorado put together the nation’s fifth-best record (58-11-4) from 1989-94, including a national title in 1990, three Big 8 titles, two appearances each in the Orange and Fiesta Bowls, and six national top-20 rankings (including three top-five finishes). The Buffs’ 1989 and 1991 teams set the school record for fewest points allowed (150) in a season. Among Hankwitz’s standout players at CU were Jim Thorpe Award winners Deon Figures (1992) and Chris Hudson (1994), and Butkus Award winner Alfred Williams (1990).
• Rank Top-25 nationally in total defense (16th; 322.5), scoring defense (7th; 15.3) rushing defense (23rd; 116.3), team passing efficiency defense (1st; 93.76), turnover margin (24th; .83), redzone defense (T-22nd; .750), 3rd down conversion pct. defense (13th; .316).
• Northwestern has allowed 92 points through the first six games (15.3 points per game), lowest total through the first six games since at least 2000. The 92 points through six Big Ten games are the fewest amount allowed by an NU defense through its first six B1G match ups since 1995.
• Only one team has scored more than 20 points against Northwestern in the last seven games.
• NU has recorded 16 takeaways (12 interceptions, four fumble recoveries) this season, the most through six conference games since at least 2000. The previous high was 10 through the first six Big Ten games in 2005. The Wildcat defense has forced multiple turnovers in five of the last seven games, dating back to last season.
Paddy Fisher (LB) – NCAA’s active leader in career tackles (376) and forced fumbles (11). Blake Gallagher (LB) – Second in the Big Ten for active career tackles (307) and sixth nationally. Leads NU with 59 tackles this season (9.8 per game; 5th in Big Ten) and 8.5 TFL (3rd most in B1G). His 5 career INT lead all Big Ten linebackers. Fisher, Gallagher & Chris Bergin (LB) – are the only active LB corps. in the country to each have 200+ career tackles. Rookie Brandon Joseph (S) has a FBS-best five interceptions in six games