NIU head football coach http://www.niuhuskies.com/sports/m-footbl/mtt/doeren_dave00.html" target="_blank">Dave Doeren has always held a liking for http://www.niuhuskies.com/sports/m-footbl/mtt/kane_kevin00.html" target="_blank">Kevin Kane.
From recruiting him as a player at Kansas, to having him on staff at Wisconsin for the past three seasons, Doeren has always found a spot for Kane.
"He's a hard-working guy," Doeren said. "He's always over-achieved everything thing he's done. [He has a] very [close] attention to detail."
Kane's latest role under Doeren will be coaching the Huskies' tight ends, fullbacks and also being involved with the special teams unit.
To Kane, Doeren has always been someone he's admired and looks to as a prime coaching example.
"He's been a great mentor to me," Kane said. "He's been a great guy to learn from, so it's been a good experience the past few years."
In the first week of spring practices, Kane was all over Brigham Field.
The Kansas alumnus is still in the early years of his coaching career, so he's keen to helping whoever needs instruction whenever they need it.
"I'm a young coach and I'm eager to learn," Kane said. "To be around a bunch of kids that want to learn from me, it's been fun, and I have no problem with all the responsibilities."
Kane's liveliness has resonated with his players so far, as they've seized the opportunity to work with a coach who isn't too far from their age.
He has an immense ability to communicate with his players, and there's plenty of evidence that he knows a thing or two about it; he earned a master's degree in strategic communication from Kansas in 2007.
But it isn't just Kane's youthful tendencies that have had positive effects with his players, according to NIU fullback Pat McAvoy. The senior said Kane has been someone who is easy to relate to.
"If [the coaches] are personable with us, and if they can relate to us, I think it's easier for the players to relate to them," McAvoy said. "For me, having him joke around with us during meetings... if we see something funny, we'll laugh about it. It's not all serious all the time."
And "having fun" was something they were reminded of from all of Doeren's staff at the conclusion of Saturday's afternoon practice.
"We got to have fun," McAvoy said. "And that's what we're doing out here."
Kane will also be an influential component to NIU's special teams unit, which is under the jurisdiction of running backs coach Eddie Faulkner. Specifically, the Parkville, Mo. native will be working with the Huskies' punt team, as well as the punters, kickers and long snappers.
"It's my swat team," Kane said. "My punt team is what I'm in charge of, and I'll help out with every other special team unit we have."