Carey steps up as new football head coach


Northern Illinois University new head football coach Rod Carey answers questions at a press conference in the Yordon Center on Dec. 2.

By Matt Hopkinson

NIU football was coachless for all of a day.

After the announcement of former head coach Dave Doeren leaving for North Carolina State on Saturday, NIU administration named the former offensive line coach and offensive coordinator, Rod Carey, the new head coach.

“Obviously there has been some transition in our program with head coaches,” said Jeff Compher, Associate Vice-President and athletic director . “You have to look at what’s best for your program. I met with the team, talked to them about what they were looking for in a head coach. They talked to me about having a player’s coach, someone who would come in and not change a lot of things.

“Someone who was a detail oriented guy who understood what it takes to win…It became very apparent to me that we had just that right person on our staff.”

Carey was hired by Doeren at the beginning of his tenure and brought on to be the offensive line coach. Carey helped two former Huskies attain All-American status in Scott Wedige and Trevor Olson, and started this season in that same position.

Carey was reassigned to the offensive coordinator following the reassignment of Mike Dunbar due to personal health reasons.

Carey believes that his approach to coaching will be similar to his predecessor in Doeren, but that not everything will be the same.

“Coach Doeren and I saw eye to eye on a ton of things,” Carey said. “When you come into a place like this, it’s not what you can change, it’s what you can keep, and that’s an important thing. Most guys come in and try to change things too fast too early, that’s not how you do it. We got a good thing going, we got great players.

We’re going to keep our offensive system, our defensive system, our special teams, the way we coach, and the way we handle our academics,” Carey said. “All that stuff is going to stay the same. Will there be differences? Yes, but they might be so small you guys might not even see it.”

Carey believes that with the reputation of NIU being a stepping-stone school, that he was happy where he was as a coach under Doeren, and is even happier as the head coach. He believes there’s a lot to look forward to for him and the school.

“I love football,” Carey said. “Is there one single thing out there that I’m looking forward to the most in the game of football? No, I just love this game. Now we have a great opportunity in the Orange Bowl, so I’m gonna relish that. And when that’s over with, I’m gonna relish the next season and look forward to that. Every step along the road is what I’m looking forward to the most.”

Junior quarterback Jordan Lynch finds the personality of Carey to be similar to Doeren and knows that it’s very important for a coach to possess those qualities.

“He’s definitely gonna bring the fun in the game still,” Lynch said. “He’s a guy that loves to go out there and compete. He’s hungry too. It’s a dream come true for him too, getting this head coaching job. Congratulations go out to him and his family. Like I said he’s just a great dude to be around.”