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Gator Bowl

NU AD Jim Phillips praises Pat Fitzgerald ahead of 'important' year

The view from Jim Phillips’ office is mundane … a parking lot outside Ryan Field. Turn the other way and you can see why the Northwestern athletic director is so bullish about the future — a giant color depiction of the $260 million beachfront project that will benefit a multitude of teams and allow football players to train without having to leave campus. School officials won’t say if they have secured the necessary permits. The groundbreaking goal is early 2015, but there’s no date. With the state of Illinois yet to approve the deal, a source told the Tribune there is “concern” among the university’s board of trustees. Sensitive to the...