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Pat Fitzgerald announces Northwestern will retain offensive coordinator Mick McCall, entire coaching staff

McCall will be back for a ninth season.

Mike Carlson/Getty Images

CHICAGO — Northwestern head coach Pat Fitzgerald has decided to retain his entire coaching staff for the fifth-straight season. Fitzgerald announced the decision Wednesday at Northwestern's National Signing Day press conference.

"Yeah," Fitzgerald said when asked if he had decided to retain his assistants. "Absolutely."

Northwestern finished 10-3 in 2015 after two 5-7 seasons in 2013 and 2014, but its offense finished 111th out of 128 teams in S&P+, an advanced play-by-play metric measuring offensive success. The Wildcats finished 119th in passing yards per game with just 138.5.

Offensive coordinator Mick McCall, who is also the quarterbacks coach, will stay on for a ninth season. He became the offensive coordinator in 2008 after a successful five-year stint at Bowling Green.

McCall failed to build a successful offense around seventh-round NFL draft pick quarterback Trevor Siemian in 2014, and had more severe troubles in 2015 with former-four-star recruit Clayton Thorson, a redshirt freshman. However, he had significant success in 2011, and to a lesser extent in 2012 and 2013.

Wide receiver coach Dennis Springer and offensive line coach Adam Cushing will also stay with the program for another season.

Springer is the shortest-tenured coach of Northwestern's nine assistants. He joined the program in 2011 after wide receiver coach Kevin Johns left for Indiana, where he is the offensive coordinator. Northwestern's receivers have been the team's worst unit for two consecutive seasons. In 2015, the Wildcats' leading wide receiver, former walk-on Austin Carr, had just 16 catches for 302 yards.

Cushing has been with Northwestern for 12 years, and 10 as an assistant coach. He began as the superbacks coach, and took over as the offensive line coach since 2009. His unit struggled with injuries and inconsistency in 2015.

Northwestern opens spring practice in late February. It opens its 2016 season at home against Western Michigan on Sept. 3.