Dec. 13, 2011
Moving the Northern Illinois Huskies' football team and coaches' families, the marching band and buses full of students and fans to Mobile, Alabama for the 2012 GoDaddy.com Bowl this January requires a lot of planning. This is more than an ordinary road trip, which usually lasts approximately 36 hours and involves just 66 players. After all, the Huskies will "move" their entire football operation south for nearly five days and that's before you talk about a caravan of buses and NIU fans that will descend on the gulf south city.
That's why Monday's official site visit in Mobile was so important for NIU staff, who were able to see the hotel, the practice field, the stadium and the locations of several bowl week events, in person. Northern Illinois sent a crew of three athletic department administrators, plus Director of Football Operations Matt Lipman and Alumni Association Director Joe Matty to meet with bowl officials, bus companies, hotel personnel and more to work out details of the trip.
Meanwhile, NIU Associate AD and Director of Athletics Jeff Compher, Northern Illinois head coach Dave Doeren, quarterback Chandler Harnish and safety Jimmie Ward represented NIU at a press conference with local media, and made an appearance at the city's "First and 10 Club" dinner that night. The press conference and dinner also featured the Huskies' counterparts from Arkansas State.
Usually, Harnish is the Northern Illinois player the media flocks to, but on Monday in Mobile, the tables were turned. Ward, a sophomore who is NIU's second-leading tackler on the year, is a native of Mobile who played at Davidson High School and HE was the name the media knew. Ward was the first player requested at the press conference and he got all the attention at the dinner. And no one enjoyed playing "second fiddle" more than Chandler Harnish.
You can read coverage of Monday's press conference by the Mobile Press-Register here
The day also featured a great lunch at a local restaurant "institution" Wintzell's, where Harnish, Doeren and all enjoyed a variety of seafood specialties. For Huskie fans that enjoy eating seafood, this is going to be the bowl for you!
Hope you all have your tickets - as of Dec. 13, bus and ground packages are still available by calling the NIU Athletics External Office at 815-753-1923. However, the Huskies' student bus trip has sold out.
NIU fans are encouraged to buy tickets through Northern Illinois - the priority deadline to order is December 16 - by calling the number above, or online through this link.