5 minutes with… Craig Harmon

By Frank Gogola

Craig Harmon, tight ends and fullbacks coach, is back with the Huskies after nearly a decade away from the program

As a walk-on at NIU in 1998, Harmon was tabbed as the Huskies’ starting quarterback as a true freshman in the fourth game of the season after the position was plagued by injuries. He redshirted in 1999 and served as the back-up quarterback in 2000 before he transferred to Quincy University, where he finished his playing days and graduated with a bachelor’s degree in physical education.

Harmon returned to NIU for the first time in 2004 and served as a graduate assistant for two seasons. Prior to returning to NIU in January, he was the tight ends coach at Wisconsin-Whitewater, which won the 2013 Div. III National Championship.

Northern Star: How did you end up coming from UW-Whitewater back to NIU?

Craig Harmon: I had a relationship with coach [Rod] Carey, and I played here and [was a graduate assistant] here. This is a very familiar place to me. This is home for me. I had a relationship with him and got the opportunity to come back and jumped on it.

NS: How does it feel to be back at NIU?

CH: Amazing. Amazing’s the first word that comes to my mind. It feels amazing. I love being here. It’s a great place. It’s a great school. Great people.

NS: What are your duties as the tight ends and fullbacks coach?

CH: My responsibilities are to get the fullbacks and tight ends prepared each week to play on Saturday. So, within the game plan and game planning with the offense, [I] make sure they are prepared to perform at their best each week.

NS: Can you break down the main fullbacks and tight ends the team has used so far this season?

CH: … We’ve used four guys right now: [redshirt senior tight end] Luke Eakes, [senior fullback] Rob Sterling, [redshirt freshman tight end/fullback] Shane Wimann and [junior tight end] Desroy Maxwell. Each are different, but the one quality all four of those have is they’re all extremely physical, they all move well and with their skill set they exceed in our offense.

NS: So, what are the main differences between those four guys?

CH: Rob [Sterling] is a true fullback. Shane [Wimann] has the ability to play both [tight end, receiver and fullback], just as Luke [Eakes] and Desroy [Maxwell] — they can play fullback, receiver and tight end; all three of those guys can. Rob, in that group, is a true fullback, and the other three are kind of hybrids; they can do all three.

NS: What do you see the fullbacks’ and tight ends’ roles being this season?

CH: Our role changes week to week. One week we’re lining up attached with the fullback in the backfield. The next week we’re lining up at receiver. So, we’re very versatile, I guess is the answer to that question. It’s a great room. There’s a lot of great players in that room. They’re really fun to coach, and they work hard every day.