Northern Illinois hires Wisconsin coordinator
DEKALB, ILL. (AP) - Northern Illinois reached into the Big Ten as it completed a whirlwind search on Monday for its new head football coach.
“I’m very fortunate to be walking into a place that has the pride and the success and the facilities and the expectations and the academic integrity that this university has,” Doeren said. “I know (former coach Joe) Novak and coach Kill and I know what they stand for. I’m very, very proud to stand on what they’ve created. I’m not walking into a rebuilding job.”
A Wisconsin assistant since 2006, the 39-year-old Doeren has been defensive coordinator the last two seasons and will coach the Badgers against TCU in the Rose Bowl next month.
“I felt like I was part of a five-year process to get them to that point and I want to finish that journey,” he said. “I also feel like it’s great publicity for this university and for our recruiting efforts to have a Rose Bowl coach on national television.”
Northern Illinois (10-3) is preparing for next week’s Humanitarian Bowl game in Boise, Idaho, against Fresno State. Linebackers coach Tom Matukewicz is serving as interim head coach for that game.
A Kansas native, Doeren was a four-year letter winner and academic All-American at Drake. He later coached linebackers and served as Drake defensive coordinator from 1995-97. He then spent two years at Southern California as a graduate assistant before moving to Montana as secondary/recruiting coordinator for a team that made back-to-back FCS national championship game appearances.
From 2002-04, he was Kansas’ linebackers coach and recruiting coordinator and was named Jayhawks co-defensive coordinator in 2005. He left for Wisconsin the next year and became defensive coordinator in 2008.
This year, Wisconsin was ranked 22nd nationally and third in the Big Ten in total defense. In 2009, Doeren’s unit was 17th in the nation, giving up 305.7 yards per game.
Kill announced on Dec. 3 that he’d take over at Minnesota, setting off a scramble for a replacement.
“Eight days ago we also began the process of trying to find our next head coach,” Northern Illinois athletic director Jeff Compher said. “The process has been swift, thorough, time consuming, invigorating and very rewarding.
“I knew he wanted the job because yesterday he spent two hours digging himself out of his driveway,” Compher said. “Then he drove two hours through a blizzard to get here.”
Doeren will coach against his former team when Northern Illinois hosts Wisconsin on Sept. 17, 2011, at Chicago’s Soldier Field.