NIU grid boss Joe Novak restructures staff, adds Levern Belin, John Bond, and Marquis Mosely



March 4, 2004


DeKALB, IL --- Given the four straight winning seasons and 18 wins in its last 24 games, Northern Illinois University’s football program not only has developed a national profile, but it has become a fertile ground for training young assistants.

Just ask ninth-year Huskie head coach Joe Novak who has added four new assistants in the last month, upgraded one holdover staffer, and switched responsibilities for another with spring practice around the corner.

Novak completed his 2004 Northern Illinois staff by adding three new full-time aides---Levern Belin (pronunciation: LEE-vern BEE-lin), John Bond, and Marquis Mosely (pronunciation: MAR-cus), promoting offensive line coach Sam Pittman to assistant head coach, and then moving assistant Greg Bower from defense to offense. Earlier this off-season, Novak named Denny Doornbos as defensive coordinator and linebacker coach and brought in Steve Bernstein as secondary coach.

The staff reorganization was announced Thursday (March 4) by Novak.

“I guess you would say this is the price of success,” said Novak, who led the Huskies to a 10-2 campaign, Top 30 national rankings, and victories over Bowl Championship Series opposition such as the University of Maryland, University of Alabama, and Iowa State University last fall. “We really brought in some good coaches, which will augment a fine, hard-working staff. While we’re sorry to see some people leave, we’re extremely happy with the coaching expertise that this new group brings to the table. There’s no doubt in my mind that our recent success helped attract this group to our program.”

Since the end of the 2003 season, defensive coordinator and secondary coach Scott Shafer went to the University of Illinois, offensive coordinator and quarterback coach Matt Canada took a position at his Indiana University alma mater, wide receivers coach George McDonald joined the Stanford University staff, and tight ends coach Bill Bleil went to the University of Pittsburgh.

Philosophically, Novak does not foresee any major changes. “Basically, our schemes will remain the same on offense and defense,” Novak said, referring to his I-Formation and Attack Four-Three alignments, respectively. “We always evaluate and re-evaluate our schemes. Our new people fit into these schemes perfectly. For example, John Bond was the offensive coordinator at Army in a one back system that featured the pass---and that’s exactly what we want to do on offense.”

The 41-year-old Bond brings 21 seasons of sideline experience to Northern Illinois beginning with two years as a student coach (1983-84) and a year as a grad assistant (1985) under Lou Holtz and Ken Hatfield at the University of Arkansas. Bond arrives in DeKalb after a four-year stint (2000-03) as offensive coordinator and quarterback coach at Army for head coach Todd Berry.

In between, Bond served as runningbacks coach under Jesse Branch at Southwest Missouri State University (1986-90), three months in the same capacity for Jim Strong at the University of Nevada-Las Vegas (1991), quarterback coach for David Lee at the University of Texas-El Paso (1991-93), quarterback boss and passing coordinator for Todd Knight at Delta (MS) State University (1994-95), and offensive coordinator and QB coach under Berry at Illinois State University (1996-99).

A former Razorback quarterback, Bond was a member of the 8-4-0 Gator Bowl team under Holtz (1981), suffered a career-ending injury, and then served as a student coach on the 7-4-1 Liberty Bowl (1984) and and grad assistant on the 10-2-0 Holiday Bowl (1985) elevens for Hatfield. At Southwest Missouri, he tutored the runningbacks on back-to-back Gateway Conference champions and National Collegiate Athletic Association Division 1-AA playoff entries (1989-90). The QB of those SMSU title teams was current Huskie running-backs coach DeAndre Smith, a 1-AA All-America, a two-time GC Player of the Year, the Football Gazette 1-AA Player of the Year, and league Player of the Decade (1985-95).

In 1996, Bond started an eight-year partnership with Berry at Illinois State and continued at Army. At ISU, his high-octane Redbird attack set or tied 50 school or conference records on a game, season, or career level in three years as offensive coordinator. Illinois State reached the 1-AA playoffs twice (1998-99) and captured the Gateway Conference title (1999). Bond coached ISU All-America QB Kevin Glenn (1998). In 1999, he was a finalist for the American Football Coaches Association National Assistant Coach of the Year Award. In 1997, Bond also coached an all-league WR named Marquis Mosely. At West Point, he implemented a One Back system that would break 35 school standards. In 2003, Bond was the recipient of the Mike Campbell Top Assistant Coach Award by the All-American Football Foundation.

As a prep at Rogers (AR) High School, Bond was a two-sport man and lettered in football (3) and track (2). An All-State QB as a senior, he played for for his father, Gary “Blackie” Bond, who coached for 32 years and was enshrined into the state’s high school federation Hall of Fame. In 2003, Bond was inducted into the RHS Hall of Fame. He received a bachelor of science degree in physical education from Arkansas in 1985. Bond is married to the former Jennifer Wilder of Bloomington, IL. The couple has a daughter, Mackenzie Rae.

“Joe Novak is an icon in the coaching business,” Bond said. “I’m thrilled to be part of the Northern Illinois family. We’re looking forward to the opportunity to be working for a championship in the near future.”

The 34-year-old Belin brings 13 years of coaching experience to Novak’s braintrust---ranging from Mid-American Conference rival Ball State University to Atlantic Coast Conference representative Maryland. The Marshville, NC, product lettered three years as a linebacker at Wake Forest University under head man Bill Dooley and produced 182 career tackles (1988-90). His coaching career started as a grad assistant under Tom Coughlin at Boston College (1991).

Belin worked for Dan Allen at Boston University with the D-line (1992) and Mike Cavan at East Tennessee State with the linebackers (1993). In 1994, he moved to Ball State where he coached outside linebackers for Paul Schudel (1994) and defensive ends under ex-Northern Illinois aide Bill Lynch (1995-98). In 1996, BSU finished 8-4-0, won the MAC title, and advanced to the Las Vegas Bowl. One of his top Cardinal pupils was DE Keith McKenzie---a seventh-round draft choice of the National Football League Green Bay Packers (1997).

After a three-month stint at the University of Connecticut (1999), Belin joined head man Ron VanderLinden’s Terrapin staff for two years at D-line coach (1999-2000) and put the polish on Maryland NFL draft picks Delbert Cowsette (Washington Redskins in 2000) and Kris Jenkins (Carolina Panthers in 2001). The last three seasons, he worked for head coach Jimmye Laycock at The College of William & Mary and served as linebacker (2001-02) and D-line (2003) boss on 8-3, 6-5, and 5-5 teams, respectively.

In 1996, Belin participated in the NFL Minority Fellowship Program with the Jacksonville Jaguars. As a prep at Forest Hills High School, he won unanimous All-State and All-America honors during his senior year. A four-year football letterman, Belin started 55 consecutive games, plus played on the Class 2A state championship team (1984), the Class 3A state runner-up (1985), and Class 3A state semifinalist (1986). He graduated from Wake Forest with a bachelor of science degree in speech communications in 1991. Belin is married to the former DeVida Newman of East Chicago, IN. His brother Warren Belin won grid letters at WFU (1987-90) and currently is the linebacker coach at Vanderbilt University.

“I’m really excited to work for head coach Joe Novak and the Northern Illinois football program,” Belin said. “People across the country have great respect for this program and what it has accomplished the last few years.”

The 28-year-old Mosely comes to Huskie Country after two seasons as assistant wide receivers coach with new NIU offensive coordinator John Bond at Army (2002-03). During his football days, he played one year at Illinois State and coached at Army with Todd Berry at Illinois State. The last two seasons Mosely served as an aide and head junior-varsity coach at West Point. In 2002, he worked with Black Knight WRs Aris Comeaux---a finalist for the Mosi Tatupu Special Teams Player of the Year Award---and William White---who finished No. 17 in NCAA 1-A all-purpose yardage (149.6 yards-per-game average).

Last summer, Mosely participated in the NFL Minority Fellowship Program with the Tennessee Titans staff that included offensive coordinator Mike Heimerdinger, a DeKalb native. Prior to West Point, Mosely was in private business and completed a two-year stint as a commerical pilot. In 1998, he received a bachelor of science degree from the University of Illinois in aviation administration and communications.

A Bloomington, IL, native, Mosely starred in three sports at Bloomington High School, lettering in football (3), basketball (3), and track (4). On the gridiron at BHS, he was named team captain, All-Big 12 Conference, All-Area, consensus All-State, and a Parade magazine All-America pick as a senior (1993). As an upperclassman, Mosely caught 95 passes for 2,043 yards---a 21.5-yard average per catch---and 27 touchdowns (1992-93). He made 56 receptions for 1,271 yards and 15 TDs in his final campaign. As a junior, his team finished 13-2 and reached the Class 5A state semifinals. In track, Mosely was a member on a mile relay unit that placed fifth (1991) and sixth (1992) in the state meet.

Mosely lettered three autumns at WR for head coach Lou Tepper at Illinois (1993, 1994, and 1996). As a sophomore, he played on the 7-5 Illini squad that played East Carolina in the Liberty Bowl and beat Northern Illinois, 34-10. In 1996, Mosely was an 11-game starter at WR. He was also a U of I teammate of George McDonald, the Huskie wide receivers coach the last three seasons.

In 1997, Mosely transferred to Illinois State, played for both Berry and Bond, and won First-Team All-Gateway honors. As a senior, he led the Redbirds in receiving (60 catches for 868 yards and four TDs) and kickoff returns (20 for 535 yards and a 26.8-yard average), plus set three major ISU records (single-game receptions with 12 vs. Northern Iowa, single-game all-purpose yardage with 316 vs. UNI, and longest KO return with a 100-yarder vs. Buffalo). Mosely is single.

“This is a great opportunity for me, to work with coach Novak,” Mosely said. “Personally, we go back to 1992 when he was recruiting me at Indiana. Our relationship has grown ever since. Coach Novak and the program here have great integrity and success.”

The 42-year-old Pittman officially becomes the first Northern Illinois “assistant head coach” in the school’s 103-year gridiron history. The veteran O-line boss begins his fourth season in his second tenure with the Huskies. His top player in 2003---center Todd Ghilani---played in several post-season national all-star games and interests NFL scouts. An El Reno, OK, product, Pittman previously coached at Hutchinson Community College (1991-93), NIU (1994-95), Cincinnati (1996), Oklahoma (1997-98), Western Michigan (1999), Missouri (2000), and Kansas (2001).

The 34-year-old Bower begins his fifth campaign in the Northern Illinois football program and moves from the defensive interior to the tight ends this spring. The Orangeville native started his coaching career under former Huskie offensive coordinator Bob Bierie at his Loras College alma mater in 1993.

Northern Illinois 2004 full-time football coaching staff (responsibilities): Joe Novak (head coach), Sam Pittman (assistant head coach and offensive line), John Bond (offensive coordinator and quarterbacks), Greg Bower (tight ends), DeAndre Smith (runningbacks), Marquis Mosely (wide receivers), Denny Doornbos (defensive coordinator and linebackers), Levern Belin (defensive interior), Mike Sabock (defensive ends and recruiting coordinator), and Steve Bernstein (secondary).

Spring practice begins March 19 and concludes with the annual intrasquad game on April 15 on Brigham Field at Huskie Stadium.

(For further information, please contact Mike Korcek) -NIU-



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