There is no question that Mike Sabock is an anomaly in the world of football assistant coaches. In a profession where veteran coaches have worn every color in the rainbow during their careers and keep the moving company's number on speed dial, Sabock enters his 24th season on the Northern Illinois sidelines in 2007.
The Huskies' recruiting coordinator since Joe Novak took over as head coach in 1996, Sabock became the defensive ends coach the next season and enters his 11th year in that role in 2007. He also coaches the Northern Illinois kickers and punters.
As NIU's recruiting coordinator, Sabock has helped fill the Northern Illinois roster with talent, much of it from within a six-hour radius of the DeKalb campus. Under Novak's direction, NIU has mined the talent-rich Chicagoland area for players that fit the Northern Illinois mold.
On the field, Sabock has worked with some of NIU's best. Northern Illinois has had a defensive end earn first team All Mid-American Conference honors in four of the last five seasons. In 2006, sophomore Larry English added his name to that list that includes Travis Moore (2002 and 2004), and Vinson Reynolds (2003).
In his work with the Northern Illinois special teams, Sabock saw NIU players collect four straight MAC Special Teams Player of the Year awards from 2000-03, including all-time scoring leader, kicker Steve Azar in 2001 and 2003.
Since arriving at NIU in 1984, he also has worked with the Huskie defensive backs (1984-86 and 1995), outside linebackers (1987-94) and tight ends (1996). During his time at Northern, Sabock has been on the staffs of four different head coaches, beginning with Lee Corso (1984) and continuing during the regimes of Jerry Pettibone (1985-90) and Charlie Sadler (1991-95). Under Novak alone, he has seen 27 of his fellow assistant coaches come and go. It goes almost without saying that Sabock has the longest tenure of any football assistant coach in Northern Illinois' 38-year major college history.
Sabock came to Northern Illinois from Penn State, where he served as a graduate assistant coach for the Nittany Lions and legendary coach Joe Paterno in 1983, when PSU finished 7-4-1 with a trip to the Aloha Bowl. He made a pair of prep coaching stops in Ohio prior to that assignment, serving three seasons as the defensive coordinator at Austintown Fitch High School and three seasons at Alliance High School.
A two-time All-Ohio Athletic Conference pick at Baldwin-Wallace College, Sabock started as a defensive back on the Yellow Jacket unit that ranked as high as No. 2 in NCAA Division III in 1976. Prior to that, he played both quarterback and defensive back at State College Area High School on unbeaten squads as a junior (9-0) and as a senior (10-0). In addition to his four football letters, Sabock was a four-year letterwinner as a pole vaulter on the track team.
He graduated from BWC in 1977 with a bachelor's degree in health and physical education and earned a master's degree in athletic administration from Kent State in 1981.
Sabock is the co-author of a book "Coaching - A Realistic Perspective," now in its ninth edition. He and his wife, the former Sandy Spencer, have two sons: Kevin (18) and Dan (20), a member of the Elmhurst College football program.
1984-present, Northern Illinois, DB; OLB; TE/RC; DE/RC
1983, Penn State, GA
1980-82, Austin Fitch (Ohio) HS, DC
1977-79, Alliance (Ohio) HS, QB/DB
As a Coach
2006 Poinsettia Bowl
2005 MAC Championship Game
2004 Silicon Valley Bowl
1983 Aloha Bowl
College: Baldwin-Wallace B.S. (1977); Kent State M.S.A. (1980)
High School: State College Area (Pa.) HS (1974)
Birthdate: Aug. 21, 1955
Birthplace: Lansthul, Germany
Hometown: State College, Pa.
Family: Wife, the former Sandy Spencer; Sons Dan (20) and Kevin (18).