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BREAKING: Defensive coordinator David Braun elevated to interim head coach for 2023 season

From never coaching an FBS game to leading a Big Ten team.

KVRR Fargo

Raise your hand if two weeks ago, you had someone who had never coached an FBS game being the head coach of a Big Ten team this season.

After firing longtime head coach Pat Fitzgerald on Monday evening, Northwestern has named defensive coordinator David Braun its interim head coach for the 2023 season, according to ESPN’s Pete Thamel. Braun had been acting as the day-to-day liaison for the program since Fitzgerald was terminated on Monday evening.

Braun was originally hired by Fitzgerald in January after former DC Jim O’Neil was relieved of his duties following the 2022 season in late November. Braun spent the past four seasons as the defensive coordinator at North Dakota State, where he helped guide the Bison to three national championship appearances, capturing the title in 2019 and 2021. In his first season as a coordinator, NDSU led the nation in points allowed and yards per game. In 2021, Braun was named Footballscoop’s FCS Coordinator of the Year.

Before his time in Fargo, Braun took on a variety of roles coaching Northern Iowa from 2017-18, particularly as an outside linebackers and defensive line coach. He spent the two seasons before coaching defensive linemen at UC Davis, which followed his four-year tenure as Winona State’s co-defensive coordinator from 2011 to 2014.

Leading the ‘Cats will be a tremendous challenge for Braun. He has never coached a single snap at the FBS level, but now will oversee an entire Big Ten program in the midst of a major scandal. For his first opportunity at the helm, Braun will have his work cut out to avoid another disastrous season for the Wildcats.