March 2011 Archives

NIU SPRING FOOTBALL: DAY FIVE UPDATE

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FB11 - Doeren at Spring Practice.jpgNorthern Illinois completed its fifth workout of 2011 spring drills Thursday morning at Huskie Stadium which included several scrimmage periods as NIU worked in full pads for the third straight day.  The Northern Illinois offense had one of its best days of spring to date, especially early in the session, as players continue to become comfortable with the terminology installed by the new coaching staff.
   
"The terminology is coming around, it's a work in progress," said Huskies' head coach Dave Doeren. "I loved the energy the offense came out with at the start of practice.  They had a real good start to today.  They were driving the ball, using the hard count and making plays. The offense came out and played with an attitude."

The offense's day was highlighted by several good runs by running backs Jas Hopkins and Jamal Womble, while former quarterback DeMarcus Grady continues to show progress at wide receiver.
 
In the later 11-on-11 scrimmage periods, Doeren was equally as excited about two momentum-changing plays by sophomore cornerback Sean Evans, who picked off passes on consecutive plays and returned both for touchdowns.

"I am real excited about Sean Evans making two interceptions [for touchdowns] at the end of practice," Doeren said. "For the defense, those touchdowns were big-time. For the offense it's something that can't happen. Sean's INTs changed the momentum of practice in two plays for the defense."

Huskie kickers Ryan Fillingim and Matt Sims also had a good day kicking with each hitting all of their tries during special teams work.

Practice Notes:  Thursday was one of the "warmest" (relatively-speaking) days of 2011 spring drills to date thanks in large part to the lack of wind on the field... visitors to practice included NIU alum Patrick Stephen, a four-year player at defensive back for the Huskies from 1995-98, who was there to watch his younger brother, Courtney, a safety for the current team... the older Stephen was a three-time Academic All-American at NIU and currently resides in the Chicago suburbs... Stephen was a senior at Northern Illinois when current offensive coordinator/quarterbacks coach Matt Canada arrived for his first stint on the NIU coaching staff... the veteran Huskie radio crew of Bill Baker (31st year) and Mark Lindo (26th year) were also in attendance Thursday as they came out to meet and chat with Northern Illinois' new assistant coaches... one new player easy to spot on the Huskie sidelines is 7-foot, 376-pound offensive lineman Kyle Getzelman, who walked on to the team in February... Getzelman, who has been a student at NIU but has not played football in several years, is a Hampshire, Ill. product who attended Burlington Central High School and is a redshirt junior.
 

PETERS TO SERVE ON BCS TASK FORCE

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Peters-John-2008-002.jpgThe Fiesta Bowl is under scrutiny by the Bowl Championship Series amid the firing of John Junker, the president and CEO of the Arizona bowl game.
 

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- The Fiesta Bowl will be asked to justify its inclusion in the BCS after organizers for the Arizona game fired president and CEO John Junker for "an apparent scheme" to reimburse employees for political contributions and "an apparent conspiracy" to cover it up.

The Fiesta Bowl released a scathing internal report Tuesday.

The reimbursements, listed as at least $46,539, are an apparent violation of state campaign finance laws and the charter that allows the Fiesta Bowl its nonprofit status. The Arizona attorney general's office is conducting a probe of the matter.

The BCS reacted swiftly, saying it would undertake an investigation of its own to "consider whether the Fiesta Bowl should remain a BCS bowl game or other appropriate sanctions."

Northern Illinois University President Dr. John Peters, who serves on the BCS Presidential Oversight Committee, is a part of a seven-member BCS task force to decide if the Fiesta Bowl will remain a BCS bowl game.

LOOKING TO MAKE HIS MARK

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Northern Illinois University running back Jamal Womble is turning heads early in camp. The 5-11, 255 junior transfer from Hutchinson Community College has wowed his teammates, coaches and on-lookers with his quick feet and strength. Ryan Wood of the Daily Chronicle filed this story on the new NIU running back looking to add his name to the long list of great Huskie running backs.

SPRING BALL UPDATE

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Coach Dave Doeren 7.jpgThe Northern Illinois University football team began its second week of spring practice Tuesday morning at Huskie Stadium. The Huskies were put through their paces by first-year head coach Dave Doeren and his coaching staff under clear skies and crisp temperatures. Tuesday also marked the second day in full pads as the Huskies worked on everything from individual work to the two-minute drill and closing out practice with special teams play.

While there is a new coaching staff to adjust to and new terminology to learn, one thing that has carried over from the previous coaching staff has been competition. With a whole new staff, comes a whole new group of coaches to impress. Doeren has been pleased with the energy and enthusiasm the team has played with so far through his first spring ball. The challenge for the Huskies now is to maintain that energy and continue to pick up the new concepts in the remaining 11 practices culminating in the Spring Game April 23.

MONTGOMERY MEETS THE COMMUNITY

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Members of the local community had the opportunity to meet new NIU men's basketball head coach Mark Montgomery on Monday night at "Mark Madness" at the NIU Convocation Center. The DeKalb Daily Chronicle spoke to Montgomery following the event to get his reaction to the response he has received from the community. The Daily Chronicle's Ryan Wood also wrote about the excitement the community had for the new head coach. 

DIFFERENT STYLES, SAME INTENSITY

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The Huskies wrapped up their first full week of spring drills Saturday. They donned the pads for the first time and continued learning the new offensive and defensive schemes from the new coaching staff. As one would expect, there is a difference in styles from current NIU head coach Dave Doeren and his predecessor, Jerry Kill. However, the spirit of competition is still in place making practices just as intense as they have in the past.

Ryan Wood of the Daily Chronicle caught up with quarterback Chandler Harnish to get his thoughts on how spring practice is progressing for the offense. Wood also filed this story on the Huskies' veteran offensive line over the weekend.

MONTGOMERY NAMED HEAD COACH

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Mark Montgomery was introduced yesterday as the new head coach of the NIU men's basketball program. Read the official announcement and watch the archive of the introductory press conference. See what Montgomery's colleagues and former players have to say about the hire on the Montgomery Fact Sheet.

Also, check out what the media had to say about the hiring of Montgomery. The DeKalb Daily Chronicle talks about Montgomery's initial excitement to see the Convocation Center and the NIU community. The Daily Chronicle also spoke with Michigan State head coach Tom Izzo about the readiness of his former associate head coach to take on the top job at NIU and shared its take on NIU Associate Vice-President and Director of Athletics Jeff Compher's third major coaching hire in less than a year.

Elsewhere, the Daily Herald notes that Montgomery has a big fan in his former mentor Izzo and the Rockford Register Star talks about Montgomery's plans for building a winner at NIU. The Chicago Sun-Times notes Montgomery's previous success recruiting in the Chicagoland area ESPN's Scott Powers writes about Montgomery's belief that Huskie hoops is a sleeping giant and Joe Rexrode of the Lansing State Journal shares the Michigan State side on the new head man at NIU.

A series of video interviews with Montgomery are also available around the web. David Kaplan of Comcast SportsNet Chicago had the opportunity to speak with the coach following his introduction. Montgomery also sat down with the Rockford-area television stations; you can see his interview with WTVO here, his WIFR interview here and his chat with WREX broken up into three parts here, here and here.

Don't forget that all members of the community and the Huskie family are welcome to come meet Coach Montgomery on Monday night when NIU hosts "Mark Madness" at the Convocation Center. The free event will take place from 4:30-6 p.m. in the main concourse of the Convocation Center, free light snacks and beverages will be provided.

SPRING FOOTBALL PRACTICE REPORT

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There were a plethora of stories in the Daily Chronicle covering NIU's first day of spring football practice. Ryan Wood recapped the day and John Sahly also offered his take on Dave Doeren's first practice as NIU head football coach. Wood also filed this story on DeMarcus Grady's move to wide receiver this spring in his notes column.

The Rockford Register Star's Jay Taft was also out at practice and posted his story on Doeren's first practice in today's paper as well.

LUX NAMED MERRILLVILLE HEAD COACH

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Former Huskies basketball player T.J. Lux, the all-time leading scorer in NIU basketball history, was recently named boys basketball head coach at Merrillville High School in his hometown of Merrillville, Ind. Lux, who graduated from Merrillville in 1995, had been an assistant for the Pirates for the last three seasons. Lux scored 1,996 points in his career at NIU and was a three-time Academic All-American.


DEFENSIVE COORDINATOR FEATURED

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Northern Illinois University defensive coordinator Jay Niemann is the latest Huskie football coach to be featured in the Daily Chronicle's on-going series about the coaches that make up Dave Doeren's staff. Niemann was Doeren's defensive coordinator when the new Huskie head man was a player for the Bulldogs and later coached the linebacker as an assistant for Niemann.

MATUKEWICZ SPEAKING ENGAGEMENT

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Matukewicz-Tom-2010-001.jpgNIU linebackers coach Tom Matukewicz will be the featured speaker at the Chamber Lunch Network hosted by the Sycamore and DeKalb Chambers of Commerce March 22, 2011 at Sycamore High School Auditorium.

Tickets for "Overcoming All Odds: An unforgettable Chamber Lunch Network with Coach Tom 'Tuke' Matukewicz" are $15 and includes lunch and presentation immediately following. Reservations must be made by 10 a.m. Monday, March 21. For more information, contact dbreunlin@sycamorechamber.com or call 815-895-3456.

Coincidentally, coach Matukewicz is today's featured coach on the Daily Chronicle's Huskie Wire.

"CHRONICLE"-ING THE HUSKIE FOOTBALL COACHES

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The Daily Chronicle is doing a series featuring members of the new NIU Football coaching staff. Tuesday, tight ends and full backs coach Kevin Kane was featured and Wednesday, cornerbacks coach Richard McNutt was profiled. Rod Carey, the Huskies offensive line coach, is today's featured assistant.

FUTURE HUSKIE TO PLAY TONIGHT AT THE CONVO

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Before NIU basketball signee Zach Miller plays for the Huskies at the Convocation Center this fall, Miller will help lead his Glenbard East High School team at the Convo tonight. Miller and the Rams will take on Rockford Auburn in the 4A Super-Sectional at 8 p.m. In the Sectional Final, Miller scored 22 points and dished out 12 assists as Glenbard East defeated East Aurora 80-62.

HUSKIE COACHING STAFF PROFILES

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The Daily Chronicle is doing a series on the Northern Illinois University football coaching staff leading up to the start of spring practice March 22. The Chronicle began its series with wide receivers coach Bob Cole and continued Monday with Ryan Nielsen, NIU's defensive line coach, is the second assistant featured.

Pair of Huskies Sign With Joliet Slammers

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Two former Huskie baseball players, Andy Deain and Brian Smith, inked deals with the Joliet Slammers of the Frontier League yesterday.  Deain was previously with the Baltimore Orioles organization for the 2010 season, while Smith will get his first experience in pro ball.  For more information on the signings, check out this article on the TribLocal Joliet website. 

MAC SCHEDULE/SPRING PREVIEWS

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Team.jpgCollegeFootballNews.com posted a series of stories on the schedules of all the Mid-American Conference schools, including a composite schedule with a list of top 10 MAC games and a top-10 list of non-conference match ups. Two Northern Illinois' contests were picked, one in each list. The website also did a breakdown of each team's schedules and potential records.

CFN.com also did a series of Spring Previews on each MAC team as well. They ask the big questions facing each team heading into spring and talk about expectations for 2011. CollegeFootballNews.com also highlights the positions to watch for each team in the conference as well.

COVERAGE OF 2011 MAC WRESTLING CHAMPIONSHIPS

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Junior Brad Dieckhaus became the first Huskie since Bryan Deutsch, who won the 2009 crown at 157, to win a MAC Wrestling championship when he defeated Kent State's Casey Newburg, 3-2, to take home the title at 184 and advance to the NCAA Wrestling Championships in Philadelphia, Pa. Deutsch will also be making his third straight appearance at Nationals after taking second, following a tough 10-9 loss to Mark Lewandowski at 157. The Daily Chronicle's Steve Nitz filed this report in today's paper.

HUSKIES CELEBRATE AT ANNUAL BANQUET

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senior class
The Northern Illinois women's soccer team celebrated its 2010 season February 25 when the Huskies hosted their annual banquet. In addition to honoring seniors Kaitlin Bujak, Kylie Revelle, Christen Schuler, Mo Smunt and Annie Wyer, for all of their hard work over the past years, the Huskie squad hrecognized individual Huskies with team awards and highlighted its 2010 season at the banquet

Five individuals were recognized for their accomplishments on the field this past season. Amy Carr was recognized as Freshman of the year,  Lauren Eberts was awarded the Defensive Player of the Year honor, while Kelsey Passaglia was given the Offensive Player of the Year nod, Lauren Solomon. was named the Most Improved Player and senior  Mo Smunt was named the team's Most Valuable Player.

Read all of the highlights of the women's soccer 2010 season successes both on and off the field in this release about the Women's Soccer Annual Banquet.


CHAMPIONSHIP EDITION OF "NIU LIVE" TONIGHT

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It's Mid-American Conference championship time in DeKalb and "NIU Live" is your source for all the latest information. Northern Illinois University women's basketball coach Kathi Bennett joins host Andy Garcia and Associate Vice President/Director of Athletics Jeff Compher on tonight's installment of "NIU Live" (670 AM WSCR, Midnight). The trio discuss NIU hosting a first round game of the 2011 MAC Women's Basketball Tournament versus Ohio Sunday night at the NIU Convocation Center (7 p.m., 1360 AM WLBK).

Sunday's women's basketball game caps off a weekend of MAC Championship action at the Convo. The MAC's six wrestling teams take over the Convocation Center Saturday and Sunday afternoon for the right to claim the MAC Wrestling Championship. Compher talks about what it means for NIU to host both events.

MAC Volleyball Tournament Changes Location

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After six years of being held at Toledo's SeaGate Centre, the Mid-American Conference volleyball championship tournament will be held at Spire Sports Complex in Geneva, Ohio.  For more info on the switch, check out the MAC release.
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