January 2011 Archives



The Northern Illinois women's basketball team surprised their coach Kathi Bennett with some birthday swag after today's practice. A giant personalized card, a billion flavors of gum, and a large Blizzard from DQ.

Turner Represents Falcons and Huskies in 2010 Pro Bowl

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Turner - Pro Bowl.jpg
Former Huskie running back, one of the NIU all-time greats, Michael Turner (2000-03) played in his second career Pro Bowl yesterday evening.  The Atlanta Falcons back turned in 53 yards on eight carries and had one catch for 11 yards.  Turner's 64-total-yard performance helped the NFC crush the AFC 55-41 in Honolulu.  The game marked the end of Turner's seventh season in the NFL.  During the 2010 campaign, the North Chicago, Ill., native posted his second 1,000-yard season (1,371) and had his third with double digit touchdowns (12).


Kathi Bennett's Huskie women's basketball team is getting ready for tip-off at Ohio. The Huskies are getting dressed in the Ohio men's basketball team's locker room. The picture below is of the first thing you see when entering: the five cornerstones. Developed by Kathi Bennett's father, Dick Bennett, the five cornerstones are the foundation of several programs across the country, including John Groce's men's team at Ohio. A team that went to the second round of the NCAA Tournament last year. They are of course, also the cornerstones of NIU's women's program. Kathi said it was "pretty cool" to see the influence on college basketball her father has had.

Ohio Locker Room Cornerstones


Chad Spann.jpgNorthern Illinois University running back Chad Spann will be playing for the Nation in the NFL Players Association Game: Texas vs. the Nation. He opted to play in this more established game, now in its fourth year, rather than participate in the inaugural Eastham Energy College All-Star game. Spann will be the second Huskie to play in the game as Eddie Adamski represented the Huskies on the Nation last year.

Spann is one of three running backs on the Nation's roster and the only player from the Mid-American Conference.

The game will be played Feb.5, 2011 in the Alamodome in San Antonio, Texas. Kickoff is set for 1 p.m. CST. In the four-year history of the game, more than 400 players have played in the NFL Players Association Game have singed NFL contracts. Former Atlanta Falcon head coach Jerry Glanville will coach the Nation.


NIU head coach Dave Doeren has completed his coaching staff with the hiring of Richard McNutt announced yesterday. Fred Mitchell of the Chicago Tribune had this write up on McNutt's hire on the Trib's website last night.



Despite battling flu-like symptoms for much of the week, Xavier Silas had another impressive performance last night for the Huskies, scoring 39 points to lead NIU to an 83-74 victory over Akron. Silas was 9-of-17 from the floor, including 5-of-9 from beyond the three-point line, and also grabbed eight rebounds as NIU improved to 7-11, 3-3 in the MAC.

With his performance, Silas was named FoxSports.com's Mid-Major Stud of the Night.

The Huskies return to action on Saturday when they travel to Buffalo. Game time is set for 11 a.m. CT. 


Northern Illinois University head coach Dave Doeren has spent little time on campus since his arrival Jan. 3. Except for five or six days, Doeren has been on the road recruiting. ESPNChicago.com's Scott Powers caught up with the Huskies' head coach in between recruiting trips to file this story.


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David Thorpe of ESPN.com recently featured NIU's Xavier Silas as one of his potential sleepers in the 2011 NBA Draft. In evaluating Silas, here are some of Thorpe's thoughts:

- "I like Silas' compact and repeatable shooting form from deep better than any player I've studied in college this season."

- "He could also hit that difficult shot off of a baseline screen or flare from the top because the wing 3-pointer is such a deep shot. I'd guess there won't be three players from this class who will be able to make that shot consistently over their NBA careers, but Silas will be one who can."

- "Silas surprised me with his defense, smartly switching screens in rapid succession and finding the right guys to rotate to quickly. This shows me he's locked into the game plan."

To read Thorpe's entire column, click here. Silas and the Huskies return to the NIU Convocation Center on Wednesday night when they host Akron at 6:30 p.m.

2011 Volleyball Signee MacKenzie Roddy Featured on TV

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He is another take on Dave Doeren. This one comes via CollegeFootballNews.com:

Northern Illinois
Head Coach: Dave Doeren
Former Coach: Jerry Kill
Last Seen: Coordinating the Wisconsin defense

Reason to like the hire: One of the bright, young coaches of the Big Ten, Doeren was the leader of a Badger D that was stout throughout his tenure. In a short period of time, he's earned the respect of his players and fellow coaches with a no-nonsense, disciplined approach. He has boundless energy for the game and his kids, and a level of intensity that'll resonate from the locker room to the fan base.

Reason to question the hire: While everyone tends to gravitate toward a youthful coach, Doeren won't celebrate his 40th birthday until this December. That makes him one of the greenest head men in America. And while he has experience, he's yet to be the man in charge. Doeren inherits a deep and talented Northern Illinois squad, so he'll be expected to hit the ground running.


Paul Meyerberg of presnapread.com, who has been breaking down all the head coaching hires in college football, posted his review of the Dave Doeren hire in his blog today. Meyerberg is not only impressed by the Doeren hire, but with Northern Illinois' ability to attract a coach of Doeren's caliber. He also likes the coaching staff he's been able to assemble.


Dave Doeren.jpgThere were five head coaching changes in the Mid-American Conference this offseason. Of course, the one all Huskie fans know about is the hiring of Dave Doeren here at NIU. Doeren is one of three Big Ten assistant coaches to be hired by a MAC school.

Kent State stayed in state when it tabbed Ohio State assistant Darrell Hazell as its head coach, while Miami (OH) hired one of their own naming Miami (OHO) grad and Michigan State assistant Don Treadwell to lead the RedHawk program. Pete Lembo was hired by Ball State and Temple added former Florida offensive coordinator Steve Addazio as their head coach. Andrea Adelson of ESPN.com breaks down all the hires in the league in her blog post today. 

Congrats to Coach Bennett and Her Staff!

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Bennett.jpgCongrats to first-year head coach Kathi Bennett and her staff for earning their first Mid-American Conference win last night at home versus Ball State!  If you weren't in attendance for NIU women's basketball's triumphant game, you missed an exciting win and outstanding near-triple-double performance by guard Marke Freeman.  The senior put up 30 points, eight rebounds and nine steals.  Yes, nine steals.  For a trio of descriptions of the game, read NIUHuskies.com's recap, Ryan Wood's recap for the Daily Chronicle, and Katie Leb's recap for the Northern Star.


Northern Illinois gets a little love from Tom Dienhart, Rivals.com Senior College Football Writer in his column reviewing/previewing the MAC. The Huskies earned the nod for best bowl performance for their 40-17 victory over Fresno State in the uDrove Humanitarian Bowl. He also calls Northern Illinois a "the bellwether program" of the MAC for its third straight bowl appearance.
Baseball-Team-1.jpgThe clock is ticking as only one day remains to purchase tickets to NIU baseball's annual Leadoff Banquet (January 20 is the deadline), which will be held on Januray 30 at the White Eagle Golf Club in Naperville, Ill.  The festive night includes dinner, keynote speaker Rick Cerrone of the New York Yankees, the opportunity to meet and greet the roster, a silent auction of NIU and MLB memorabilia, and more.  For more information, click here.  Don't miss out on this great night!


The MAC posted this Q&A today with NIU women's basketball player Courtney Shelton.


Gymnastics Team
"Perfect premeet huddle form on three.... 1, 2, 3 - PERFECT PREMEET HUDDLE FORM!"

What a hugely busy weekend in Huskie Athletics... let's recap.

- The NIU men's basketball team defeated Toledo, 64-54, to move to 2-1 in Mid-American Conference play. Coverage from HuskieWire.com and NIUHuskies.com as well as the box score.

- Rasheta Butler set a new NIU school record for the 200-meter dash.

- Holly Reichard won three events for the Huskie gymnastics squad (read about it).

- Bryan Deutsch won his fifth straight match, defeating Ohio's Casey Gordon by major decision.

- Courtney Shelton scored a career-high 29 points, including 12 in 46 seconds near the end of NIU women's basketball's 71-67 loss to Western Michigan. The Rockford Register-Star was there with this report, and you can peek at the final stats.


Coffman-Jake.jpgJake Coffman has been named to another all-bowl team. Coffman was one of two defensive ends in the nation to be named to ESPN.com's 2010 All-Bowl Team. He joins Ohio State defensive end Cameron Heyward, Auburn's Nick Fairley, and Corey Liuget of Illinois on ESPN.com's front four after his performance against Fresno State in the uDrove Humanitarian Bowl. This is the second all-bowl team honor for Coffman. Earlier this week, he was named to CollegeFootballNews.com's 2010 All-Bowl Team.


For you night owls out there, be sure to catch "NIU" Live on 670 AM WSCR "The Score" tonight  at Midnight. Host Andy Garcia is joined by new Huskie head football coach Dave Doeren and Associate Vice President/Director of Athletics Jeff Compher. Doeren, who has been on a media whirlwind this week, talks about assembling his staff and the upcoming recruiting season.


Chandler Harnish 2.jpgThe post-bowl honors continue to roll in for the Northern Illinois University football team. Center Scott Wedige was named to the Rivals.com 2010 All-Bowl Team. CollegeFootballNews.com handed out it's honors this week as well.

Quarterback Chandler Harnish and defensive end Jake Coffman were named to the CFN All-Bowl Team. Harnish beat out the likes of Stanford's Andrew Luck and Cam Newton of Auburn by virtue of his performance against Fresno State in the uDrove Humanitarian Bowl. Harnish threw for 300 yards and a touchdown on 17-of-26 passing. He also rushed for 72 yards and two touchdowns on 10 carries to earn the No. 4 spot on CFN's Top 50 Performances of the bowl season.

Coffman, who was participating in his final collegiate football game, played like it. He recorded six tackles, three sacks and 4.5 tackles for loss against the Bulldogs. His performance earned him the No. 39 spot.

CollegeFootballNews.com also posted the 50 Biggest Stars and Northern Illinois appears twice. Tom Matukewicz was one of three interim coaches to win their bowl game and appear at No. 47, Interim Head Coaches.  As a team, Northern Illinois checked in at No. 35 for it's 40-17 victory over Fresno State minus its head coach and two coordinators.


Wedige-Scott.jpgCongratulations to Northern Illinois junior center Scott Wedige, who was named to Rivals.com 2010 All-Bowl Team.  

Wedige's performance on the inside against Fresno State defensive tackle Logan Harrell, among others, was key to the Huskies' gaining 503 yards of total offense in a dominating 40-17 victory over the Bulldogs in the uDrove Humanitarian Bowl.   The article also recognizes the job done by NIU offensive tackle Trevor Olson, who held Fresno State defensive end Chris Carter, the Western Athletic Conference Defensive Player of the Year, without a tackle.  Harrell and Carter combined for 30.5 tackles for loss and 21.5 sacks before getting handled by the Huskies.

The great news for Huskie fans: Wedige, Olson and fellow offensive line starters Joe Pawlak, Logan Pegram and Keith Otis all return in 2011.  

Of course, we think quarterback Chandler Harnish's 300-yard passing performance (on 17-of-26 passing) and 72 yards rushing (on 10 carries) should have earned him a nod on the All-Bowl Team over Stanford's Andrew Luck!  Harnish accounted for three TDs (two rushing, one passing) to pick up MVP honors.


Xavier Silas led NIU to a 71-69 victory last night at Eastern Michigan with 31 points, including 6-of-6 from beyond the three-point line. For his efforts, Silas was named FoxSports.com's Mid-Major Stud of the Night. Silas and the Huskies return home to the NIU Convocation Center on Saturday when they host Toledo at 3:30 p.m., the game is part of a doubleheader with the NIU women who play Western Michigan at 1 p.m.

Silas was also featured recently on the Mid-American Conference Fast Break video series.


Northern Illinois head coach Dave Doeren was down in Chicago yesterday for a meet and greet with the Chicago media. Doeren, offensive coordinator Matt Canada, defensive coordinator Jay Niemann and linebackers coach Tom Matukewicz were at Ditka's Restaurant for a few hours mingling with reports from the Chicago Tribune, Sun-Times, Daily Herald and Daily Chronicle, as well as anchors Dan Roan of WGN Sports and Megan Mawicke of CBS 2 sports. Comcast SportsNet was also on hand to sit down with the new Huskie head man.

WGN, CBS and CSN ran their video reports yesterday and last night. Fred Mitchell filed this story, along with a companion video interview with coach Doeren on the Trib's website. Lacy Banks of the Sun-Times got Doeren's thoughts on his new team in his story in the paper today. Ryan Wood of the Chronicle made the trek to the city yesterday for his second sit down with NIU's new head coach. His article focused on Northern Illinois' recruiting efforts in Chicago. Be on the look out for an article from Lindsey Willhite of the Daily Herald. He also made the trip to Chicago for the event.

Following the press gathering at Ditka's Doeren made an appearance on Comcast SportsNet's Chicago Tribune Live with host Dve Kaplan, who also serves as the play-by-play commentator on Huskie football games broadcast on CSN Chicago. Fred Mitchell, a regular on CTL, was also on the panel show.


With last night's National Championship game in the books, the final polls are out. The Huskies just missed the Top 25 in the USA Today Coaches Poll, finishing at 26 with 82 points. The Associated Press ranked the Huskies No. 29 with 47 points. You can check out both polls here.


Northern Illinois University head football coach Dave Doeren will be making the rounds in Chicago today meeting with members of the media. His first stop of the day will be a meet and greet session at Ditka's. He will then head over to Comcast SportsNet for an appearance on Chicago Tribune Live hosted by Dave Kaplan. You can catch coach Doeren on Chicago Tribune Live at 5:30 p.m.


ESPN.com's Andrea Adelson did a quick round up of all the new hires at Non-AQ schools, three of which were from the Mid-American Conference, including Northern Illinois. Kent State and Ball State are the other two MAC schools that have made additions to their staff.


Dave Doeren.jpgNew Daily Chronicle beat writer Ryan Wood sat down with NIU head football coach Dave Doeren last week to catch up with the new Huskie head man on his first official week here in DeKalb. As you would expect, recruiting was a major topic of discussion in the story.


Chad Spann 2.jpgThis year's BCS National Championship game features two of the most explosive offense's in the country. Oregon and Auburn rank No. 1 & 2 respectively in scoring drives under three plays or less in 2010.

However, Auburn shares that honor with another school - Northern Illinois. The Huskies and Tigers have had an amazing 20 scoring drives of three plays or less this season. NIU had five games with multiple drives of three plays or less including an astounding eight against Eastern Michigan alone.


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Already a 1995 NIU Athletics Hall of Fame inductee, former NIU men's basketball head coach John McDougal (1976-86) was inducted into the Rockford's (Ill.) Lutheran High School Sports Hall of Fame this week as the school's first inductee.  After a successful run with the Huskies, where he coached the 1981-82 Mid-American Conference Tournament and won 136 total games, McDougal continued coaching at the high school level.  He took Lutheran to the Illinois State Tournament in 1993-94 and 1994-95.  McDougal also had a stellar run at Aurora West High School and is the only coach in Illinois history to place at State in both Class A and AA.  Congrats to Coach McDougal from the Huskie family!


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freeman.jpgFor all of you Huskie fans looking to catch a little mid-week basketball action, the Northern Illinois women's basketball team will kick-off its Mid-American Conference schedule tonight, as the Huskies host Eastern Michigan at the Convocation Center. The Huskies' MAC opener is schedule for a 7 p.m. tip-off, so make sure you don't miss out on any of Huskie basketball action and purchase your tickets by clicking here.

For those who aren't able make it out to the game tonight, you can track the Huskies by following LIVE STATS or WATCH the game live via Huskie All Access.

On the men's side, the Huskies will open MAC action Saturday when NIU hosts Ball State at 3 p.m. in DeKalb. Tickets for the Saturday's contest are available here, or you can track the Huskies here: Live Stats | Watch

Youth upper bowl tickets to both games cost just $1, and admission for students who wish to come out and show their Huskie Pride is free with a valid NIU student ID.


Northern Illinois tailback Chad Spann has been invited to play in the inaugural Eastham Energy College All-Star Game Jan. 23, 2011. The game will be played at Sun Devil Stadium in Tempe, Ariz.

Spann wrapped up a stellar career at Northern Illinois in 2010. He captured the Vern Smith Award after leading the Mid-American Conference in rushing, averaging 99 yards a game and producing his second-straight 1,000-yard season with 1,388 yards. Also named the MAC's Offensive Player of the Year, he set the Huskies' single season record for rushing touchdowns and touchdowns scored with 22.

Spann will not be the only Huskie down in Temple. Former NIU head football coach and NIU Hall of Famer Jerry Ippoliti is one of the founders of the game.


Frese Family Portrait
Make room for one more!

Congrats to Huskie women's basketball associate head coach Marsha Frese and her husband Jason Elliot. Marsha has, as the kids say, "a bun in the oven," and the Frese household will be adding a second child in the summer! The couple already has one, Kylan, who is five.

Incidentally, Kylan and NIU women's hoops senior Terriel Cannon got the same present for Christmas - a Ladybug Pillow Pet


NIU head women's basketball coach Kathi Bennett's dad, Dick Bennett, stopped by the Huskies' pregame meal Tuesday to give the team a pregame talk. The elder Bennett, a 300-game winner like his daughter, talked to the team about the importance of humility and passion. Take a look -

Diem, Turner, Wolfe Advance to NFL Playoffs

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The NFL regular season may have ended yesterday, but for three Huskies the season will continue with the playoffs.  Ryan Diem and the Indianapolis Colts will host the New York Jets Saturday night.  Michael Turner and the Atlanta Falcons snagged the top seed in the NFC and await the results of Wild Card Weekend for their Divisional Round opponent.  Garrett Wolfe and the Chicago Bears received the No. 2 seed in the NFC and are in the same boat as the Falcons, waiting for their next foe.  Congrats and good luck to our Huskies!
NIU-Basketball-Mens-and-Womens-Graphic.jpgBoth the NIU men's and women's basketball teams are in action tonight as they play their last games before starting Mid-American Conference play.  The men face Iowa State on the road at 7 p.m. tonight, while the women host intrastate rival Illinois State at the NIU Convocation Center at 7 p.m.  For a preview of each game, click here: Men | Women.  To follow live stats, click here: Men | Women.  Both Huskie teams will be looking for their second straight win!

After tonight's action, the women have just one day to prepare for their MAC opener against Eastern Michigan at the NIU Convocation Center Wednesday at 7 p.m.  The men will also start the conference schedule at home, doing so Saturday at 3 p.m. versus Ball State.

Don't miss the exciting hardwood action this week!  As always, students can attend for free by showing a valid NIU student ID.  To purchase tickets, click here

MAC Basketball Blog

MAC Basketball Blog