It seemed like just another team meeting in the McCareins Room at the Yordon Center Saturday, August 16. Take a look at behind the scenes footage of the Huskies unveiling of their new uniforms on August 16, pranking the team before revealing them.
In an effort to spice things up, this week's edition of Lunch With Lynch will feature a series of Jordan Lynch highlights with quotes from opposing coaches and statistical rankings as of the September 22nd NCAA report.
The Huskies had their final practice of the season Sunday afternoon. Former players and coaches met at FontaineBleau as well.
Over a four-month period in the fall of 2012, Rod Carey went from coordinating the run game and coaching the offensive line of the NIU Huskies, to offensive coordinator of one of the most explosive offenses in the country, to head coach of the first Mid-American Conference team to play in a Bowl Championship Series (BCS) bowl game.
Carey's promotion to head coach of Northern Illinois University's football team was announced on December 2, 2012, just minutes before NIU learned that the team had earned a historic bid to face Florida State in the 2013 Discover Orange Bowl.
After two fourth-quarter touchdowns by the Seminoles turned a 17-10 game into a 31-10 final score in that game, Carey returned to DeKalb where he and his newly-built staff went to work, determined to capitalize on the momentum of the Orange Bowl appearance and the Huskies' second straight MAC Championship.
That hard work paid off in 2013 as Carey led NIU to an undefeated regular season that included two wins over Big Ten Conference teams - a 30-27 last-minute win over Iowa in the season opener and a 55-24 blowout victory at Purdue. Behind All-Americans Jordan Lynch and Jimmie Ward, the Huskies spent 12 weeks in the Top 25 rankings and coasted through the league slate to win the MAC West title and advance to the MAC Championship game for the fourth straight year.
Carey became the third NIU mentor to be named the MAC Coach of the Year, following in the footsteps of greats Bill Mallory (1983) and Joe Novak (2002), and was a semifinalist for the Maxwell Football Club Coach of the Year Award. He is the first league coach to win two games over Big Ten Conference opponents in one season.
Prolific offensive production, leading to four consecutive 11-plus win seasons, has been a hallmark of Carey's four seasons in DeKalb. In his first season at NIU, he coached a pair of All-American offensive lineman as center Scott Wedige and left tackle Trevor Olson were named All-Americans by CBSSports.com and Phil Steele's magazine, respectively. Three Huskies, including first-team selections Jimmie Ward and Jordan Lynch, earned All-America honors a year ago, while Lynch's historic career was capped by a third-place finish in the Heisman Trophy voting and a trip to New York for the Heisman festivities. Huskies have won the Vern Smith Award, presented annually to the MAC MVP, every year under Carey.
A fiery competitor who despises losing, Carey immediately connected with last year's Huskie team, thanks in part to his familiarity with the program, and especially the offense. His connection to NIU goes through Mallory as the former Huskie mentor was Carey's collegiate coach at the University of Indiana. Given that, he brought a healthy respect for NIU's history of success when he arrived, and he has worked to foster appreciation for the NIU tradition among the current Huskies and has made a special effort to connect with the football alumni.
In addition, he has continued to prioritize academic success and the development of each individual by providing community service opportunities and bringing in guest speakers to address issues from leadership to social media usage to life after football and beyond.
Carey joined the Huskies after three seasons coaching the offensive line at the University of North Dakota. His line paved the way for UND 1,000-yard rusher Josh Murray (1,146 yards) in 2008 and for the No. 2 running back in the Great West Conference a year later. The Fighting Sioux also passed for 2,000 yards in 2009. Five of Carey's offensive linemen earned GWC all-conference honors in his last three seasons.
Prior to going to North Dakota, Carey spent the 2007 season as the offensive line coach at Illinois State. His Redbird offensive line featured three players that received professional football opportunities.
From 2000-06, Carey served on the coaching staff at the University of Wisconsin-Stout, where he was the offensive coordinator and offensive line coach. His offensive units averaged nearly 400 yards per game during his seven seasons and set 14 records, including the all-time conference rushing record. He coached Blue Devils' offensive lineman Ben Knepper, one of the most decorated players ever at UW-Stout, to multiple All-American and all-conference honors. In all, Carey coached 26 all-conference selections and seven All-Americans during his time at UW-Stout.
Carey began his collegiate coaching career at the University of Minnesota (1998-99) where he helped the Gophers to their first bowl game in over a decade with a trip to the 1999 Sun Bowl. Prior to UM, he spent four seasons in the high school ranks at his alma mater, Wayzata (Minn.) High School, from 1994-97.
A three-year starter at center for Indiana during his collegiate playing days, Carey served as a team captain and won IU's Corby Davis Outstanding Offensive Player Award as a senior. He earned his bachelor's degree from Indiana in 1994.
Mallory was happy to see one of his former players take the reigns of the Huskie program.
"I had the greatest respect for Rod as a player," Mallory said. "He had everything you want to see in a person and in a coach.
"He is a quality person, a great character individual, a good people person and a caring individual, the qualities you like to see in a person and in a coach. He is very focused, he is a competitor, he knows his football and has an excellent coaching background. He understands Northern and I think he will do an excellent job."
Carey and his wife Tonya have two children, daughter Kennedi (10) and son Charlie (7).
Head Coach^ (2012-)
Offensive Coordinator* (2012)
Offensive Line/Run Game Coord. (2012)
Offensive Line (2011)
North Dakota (Offensive Line)
Illinois State (Offensive Line)
Wisconsin-Stout (Off. Coord./Off. Line)
Minnesota (Graduate Assistant)
Poinsettia Bowl (NIU)
Orange Bowl (NIU)
GoDaddy.com Bowl (NIU)
NCAA D-III Playoffs (UW-Stout)
Sun Bowl (Minnesota)
Independence Bowl (Indiana, Player)
Copper Bowl (Indiana, Player)
Peach Bowl (Indiana, Player)
B.A., Indiana, 1993
July 24, 1971
Wife, Tonya, daughter Kennedi (10), and son Charlie (7).
^-Named NIU's 22nd head football coach Dec. 2, 2012