June 2011 Archives

Coached by Northern Illinois volleyball assistants Dan and Coley Pawlikowski, Huskie incoming freshmen Jess Lubic, Haley Norris and Emily Paschke led their Kane County Gold club team to a first place finish at the 2011 Volleyball Festival in Phoenix, Ariz.  Most of the 64-team field was from volleyball hotbeds California, Arizona, Hawaii and Texas.

In the semifinals, KCG took down Club Troy, who is run by University of Southern California Coach Mick Haley.  Then KCG lost to Santa Monica Beach Club in the winner's bracket finals (18-25, 26-24, 15-17).  Since the tournament was double elimination, KCG had to play the next morning versus the loser's bracket's City Beach, from the bay area.  After defeating City Beach, KCG played Santa Monica again, and won in two sets (25-23, 25-15).  Because Santa Monica had yet to lose in the bracket, KCG had to play one more set to determine the championship, and won 25-22 to claim the prestigious title.

Congrats to the Pawlikowskis, Jess Lubic, Haley Norris and Emily Paschke!  
Incoming men's golf freshmen Nick Huggins has kept himself busy this summer. He tied for 52nd place in the 94th Western Junior Championship held at Beverley Country Club located in Chicago. The tournament attracts some of the best junior golfers in the nation. Past winners include current professional golfer Rickie Fowler, who won it in 2005.

Currently, Nick is playing in the AJGA Rolex Tournament of Champions. It is regarded as the "Masters" of junior golf events where only an elite field is invited to compete. Nick shot a 71 and is tied for third after day one.

NIU Hall of Famer Dave Mason will be inducted into his high school's Hall of Fame on December 9th.  The Philo Athletic Hall of Fame Class of 2011 will feature Mason along with two others.  At Philo High School in Duncan Falls, Ohio, Mason won 11 varsity letters, four football, four baseball and three basketball.  He was named an all-conference performer for baseball four times, football three times and basketball once.  He was a starter in every year in each sport. 

In 1970, Mason  took the reigns of the NIU baseball program, where he left an indelible mark.  He put together a .531 winning percentage (94-83-1) in five seasons as head coach for the Huskies and took the 1972 team to NCAA Tournament, giving the program its first trip to the NCAA Tournament.  In 2008, the 1972 team was inducted into the NIU Athletics Hall of Fame, and two members of the team (Tom Wittum and Jay Graziano) were later inducted in the Hall as individuals.

Congrats, Coach Mason!
Yahoo-FB-Preview-Screen-shot.jpgA yearly staple of Yahoo Sports!/Rivals.com's college football coverage, the 13th annual Preseason Top 120 Countdown is well under way.  With this week's release of teams ranked No. 56-60, the Huskies check in at No. 57, which is tops among all 13 Mid-American Conference teams and is ahead of 23 BCS teams.  To read Tom Dienhart's preview for the 2011 NIU football squad, click here.

IF THE SHOE FITS

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Former Northern Illinois University football players Erek Benz and Dan Nicholson took home the top prize at the Stateline FastPitch Competition in Rockford Tuesday night. The duo won $5,000 to apply to their product line - Position Tech. The former Huskies invented a cleat that can be added to shoes and customized for athletes.

ROCKFORD -- Two Northern Illinois University graduates and former football players took home the top prize tonight for their customizable athletic cleat system at the Stateline FastPitch Competition.

Erek Benz and Dan Nicholson won $5,000 they can apply toward their product line, Position Tech -- cleats that can be added to shoes and customized for athletes like football and lacrosse players. The cleats aim to improve agility, balance, power and speed for players who have different needs in their various positions like quarterback, tight end, offensive and defensive linemen, etc. READ MORE

NEW MEN'S BASKETBALL ADDITION

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Congratulations to Huskie men's basketball assistant coach Todd Townsend on the birth of his daughter, Leila Rae Townsend. Leila Rae came into the world late last night weighing nearly seven pounds and measuring 19.5 inches and is doing well. Congrats to Coach Townsend on the birth of the newest Huskie!
 
Dale Berman, who played tackle for NIU from 1958-59, will be inducted into the Semi-Pro Football Hall of Fame on Friday in Canton, Ohio.  Well-known for being the mayor of North Aurora, the 77-year-old Berman was named to NIU's All-Century team in 1999 and was a two-time all-conference selection for the Huskies. 

Berman enters the famed Hall for his contributions to the Tri-State Professional League's Aurora Clippers and Elmhurst Travelers, where he was an all-star selection.  To find out more about Berman's story, click here to read Denise Crosby's article in The Beacon-News that ran yesterday.

BERNOUDY LEADS NCAA FORUM

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Last week in Indianapolis, the NCAA held its annual Career in Sports Forum which gives student-athletes from across the country the opportunity to explore their interest in athletic careers upon graduation. For the second consecutive year, NIU Associate Athletic Director Monique Bernoudy was selected as one of the 16 facilitators for the four-day conference. During the event, student-athletes developed their skills in a number of areas, including communication, networking, recruiting, managing diversity, crisis management and budgeting.

"The NCAA Forum is an exceptional opportunity for student-athletes to enhance their skill set, become more self-aware, explore athletic careers and meet student-athletes, coaches and administrators from across the country," said Bernoudy. "It is a joy to work with them and watch them blossom in four days."

SILAS READY FOR NBA DRAFT

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With the NBA Draft just two days away, former Huskie Xavier Silas has finished his whirlwind spring and early summer filled with pre-draft camps and workouts. The Austin, Texas native worked out for 10 NBA teams in his preparation for the draft and could become the first NIU player selected in the NBA Draft since Tim Dillon was selected in the third round of the 1984 draft by the Chicago Bulls. Gareth Sleger of the Rockford Register Star caught up with Silas to talk about his workouts and his prospects for Thursday night's draft.

Coach Mathey Featured on Rawlings Video

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Mathey.jpegA few months back, NIU baseball head coach Ed Mathey spoke on camera to Rawlings about the importance of coaches at the Division I level.  Click here to view the video that is featured on Rawlings' Facebook page.  His part is near the end from about 1:43-2:06.

"DOEREN DISCOVERS" GAINING NATIONAL PUB

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Graham Watson posted this story Friday on Yahoo! Sports' College Football Blog regarding NIUHuskies.com's weekly webisode series, "Doeren Discovers." In addition to the opportunity to win the Huskie Football Experience of a Lifetime, "Doeren Discovers" is a great way for Huskie fans to get to know their new head man off the field. Check it out today and enter for your chance to win!

DYNAMIC DUO

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Pawlak-Wedige.jpgMike Huguenin of Rivals.com highlights the best offensive duos at running back, wide receiver at tackle and in the interior of the line. A pair of Huskies made the list. Center Scott Wedige and guard Joe Pawlak were tabbed as the best interior linemen in the Mid-American Conference. Wedige, who is currently on the Rimington Award Watch List, started all 14 games for the Huskies in 2010, his first as a starter, while Pawlak will be starting at guard for the third-straight season for NIU this year.

The duo was part of the top offensive line in the MAC. The Huskie front five allowed 13 sacks last season, the fewest in the MAC and paved the way for the league's No. 1 rushing attack and scoring offense. They also cleared the way for 2010 Vern Smith Leadership Award winner, running back Chad Spann.

BIG GAME ON SEPT. 17, IN CASE YOU HAVEN'T HEARD

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NIU-UW.jpgAndrea Adelson of ESPN.com listed seven must-win games for Non-AQ schools and NIU's Sept. 17 tilt with Wisconsin made the list. Aside from the obvious storyline of new NIU head coach Dave Doeren competing against his former boss, the Huskies have defeated a Big Ten team in each of the last two years.

If you want to be at Soldier Field for all the excitement, log on to NIUHuskies.com and buy your tickets today!

"It's not everyday that you can walk into the dugout and be congratulated by Ryan Klesko."

That's what NIU baseball's Trey Lang said Tuesday night after Ryan Klesko visited the clubhouse of the Hannibal Cavemen, a collegiate summer team in the Prospect League.  Klesko, a former MLB standout, and Woody Williams, another former MLB standout, recently became part of the ownership group for the Hannibal, Mo., team.  The two pros took the time to meet and greet the team Tuesday night.  To read about the details and advice that Lang, his Huskie teammates Jake Hermsen and Jeff Zimmerman, and the rest of the Cavemen received, click here.

ULTIMATE HUSKIE FOOTBALL FOOTBALL EXPERIENCE

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DD Logo-1.jpgWant to get to know new NIU head football coach Dave Doeren and score yourself a sweet deal to Soldier Field Showdown II in the process? Doeren Discovers, a weekly webisode series featuring the coach Doeren, debuted yesterday. Simply watch each episode and answer the multiple question below to enter for a chance to win the Soldier Field Showdown II prize pack which includes two club seats to Soldier Field Showdown II, a parking pass, two pregame on-field passes and the opportunity to run out with the team at Soldier Field decked out in free Huskie gear.

Only one entry per person per week will be accepted and only submissions with the correct answer will be entered in the grand prize drawing. The contest runs through the week of July 18 and the winner will be announced August 1.

FRESH FACES ON CAMPUS

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Today is the beginning of the summer semester of classes at NIU and most of the Huskie men's basketball team has arrived on campus to take classes and get a jump on preparation for the upcoming season. For the newcomers, it is also a chance to become more familiar with campus and their surroundings in DeKalb. With seven signees joining the program this season, there are plenty of new faces moving into the dorms and getting ready to begin college life at NIU.


CAMPING IN DEKALB THIS SUMMER

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While it's summertime here on campus, it doesn't mean there aren't a lot of lessons being taught. The Northern Illinois University football team will be conducting a series of camps here on campus this summer. Today, the Huskies are hosting a camp for high school seniors and tomorrow, more than 600 kids representing 31 teams are signed up for a 7-on-7 camp.

Football is not alone. Thousands of kids from grade school through high school will be attending a myriad of different camps here on campus. For a complete list of camps being offered here this summer check the camps page on NIUHuskies.com.

Two New Huskies Have Joined The Family!

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NIU-Babies.jpgOver the past few days, two members of the NIU athletics department have welcomed two new Huskies to the family.  First was Nora Vivolyn Harris, daughter of Ryan and Liz Harris.  Ryan is the associate director of sales for Huskie athletics.  The Harris' firstborn child came on June 2nd at 7:27 a.m.  Nora weighed in at 7 lbs, 13 oz., and she and Liz are doing great!

The second addition to the Huskie family came today at 9:24 a.m. as Camden J. Elliott was welcomed to the world.  Weighing in at 7 lbs, 12 oz., Camden joins his four-year-old sister, Kylan, in women's basketball associate head coach Marsha Frese and Jason Elliott's family.  Both Coach Frese and Camden are doing very well!

DR. STEINBRECHER GETS EXTENSION

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Mid-American Conference commissioner Dr. Jon Steinbrecher received a two-year extension to lead the league the MAC announced today.

Cleveland, Ohio - The Mid-American Conference announced today that the Council of Presidents has extended the contract of Commissioner Dr. Jon Steinbrecher for two additional years through the 2015-16 academic year.  Steinbrecher began as MAC Commissioner in May of 2009 with an original five-year contract and only two years into the agreement, the conference Presidents unanimously rewarded Steinbrecher with a two-year contract extension. MORE


YORDON RINGS THE BELL

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Yordon at NASDAQ.jpgCongratulations to Huskie supporter Jeff Yordon as he rang the bell at the NASDAQ yesterday. Yordon, the Chief Executive Officer of Sagent Pharmaceuticals Inc, donated $2.5 million to the Jeffrey and Kimberly Yordon Center and is a fixture on the sidelines at NIU football games.

TURNER AMONG LEAGUE'S BEST

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Michael Turner-1.jpgThe NFL Network is doing a 10-part series revealing The Top 100 Players of 2011 as determined by the players themselves. Former Northern Illinois running back Michael Turner made the list at No. 42. Former Chicago Bear and current Texans defensive end Adewale Ogunleye explains why Turner is one of the best players in the game today in this video.

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"Swing Away" is their name and that's exactly what they did. NIU volleyball assistant coach Coley Pawlikowski (pictured on the left), who is the team captain, and her Swing Away girls went undefeated (10-0) over the weekend to win the 2011 USA Volleyball Open National Championship, avenging last year's second place finish. Hosted in Dallas, Texas, at the Dallas Convention Center, Pawlikowski and Co. took down the best of the best around the country from May 28-June4. Playing as the libero, Pawlikowski helped her team be the last one standing in the AA division, which was comprised of 19 of the best teams from all over the nation.

A former Huskie herself, Pawlikowski's team is composed of several other former NCAA Division I players from CSU San Bernardino, Dayton, Illinois, Indiana, Ohio and Wake Forest.

USA Volleyball has hosted its annual championship tournament for 80 years and it's one of the largest national championships of all sports in the United States. For more information, visit the USA Volleyball website.

2011 NIU FOOTBALL PREVIEW

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NIU Football Team Running Out.jpgCollegeFootballNews.com posted its 2011 Preview of the Northern Illinois University football season today. CFN.com goes in depth, breaking down the Huskies on both sides of the ball. On offense, the obvious storylines are who will replace 2010 Vern Smith winner Chad Spann and how will the unit pick up offensive coordinator Matt Canada's system.

The defensive side of the ball has similar issues. Underrated for the last two years, the Huskie defense has its share of starters to replace, namely defensive end Jake Coffman and linebacker Alex Kube.

Despite some of the question marks, there are plenty of positives to point out. The offense returns all but two starters including quarterback Chandler Harnish and the entire offensive line. Jas Hopkins and the running back corps are more than capable of picking up for the loss Spann. The receiving group is deep and talented. 

Defensive end Sean Progar and safety Tommy Davis provide leadership and experience to a young unit. NIU head coach Dave Doeren is a defensive expert and defensive coordinator Jay Niemann has already begun to put his stamp on the defense.