Highlights from the celebration of the NIU men's soccer team's 1-0 win over Western Michigan
Head Coach Eric Luzzi likes a lot of things about associate head coach Garrett Biller, who begins his seventh season at NIU in 2015. Luzzi admires his work ethic, his knowledge, and his recruiting ability. Most importantly, Luzzi admires that Biller is a winner.
"He has experience at high-level programs both as a player and a coach," Luzzi said. "All you have to do is look at his coaching background as evidence that he knows what it takes to build a championship caliber program."
In addition to his on-the-field coaching, Biller is also NIU's recruiting coordinator and is responsible for scouting and video breakdown. He is also the assistant director of the NIU Soccer Academy Camp.
"Biller is a great student of the game. His willingness to do what it takes has become a massive asset to this program," said Luzzi. "His attention to detail and work ethic will carry him a long way in his coaching career."
Biller oversees the development of the backline and goalkeepers. In 2009, he helped coach freshman Jordan Godsey to the second-best goals against average in Huskie history (0.71), and the best save percentage in the MAC (.852). In the 2010 season the Huskie backline ranked 12th in the country in team goals against average (0.69) while Jordan Godsey was among the nation's best ranking 14th in his goals against average with 0.71.
In 2011, Godsey posted a school-record 12 shutouts and recorded a 0.70 goals against average, helping NIU to the 12th-best team goals against average in the country. The Huskies posted a 15-6-0 record, tying the program-record for wins, en route to a Mid-American Conference championship and a bid to the 2011 NCAA Tournament. NIU defeated Western Illinois 3-0 in the first round of the tournament before bowing out to second-seeded Creighton. Northern Illinois was ranked as high as No. 13 in the adidas/NSCAA national ranking and No. 16 in the RPI during the 2011 campaign, finishing with a program-best RPI of 24. Following the season, five Huskies received All-MAC honors and four players received NSCAA All-Great Lakes region honors - the most in the region.
The 2012 season saw the Huskies play one of the most difficult schedules in the country, with five foes that were ranked in the top-five in the country. After winning just one of its first eight games, the Huskies rallied to reach the MAC Championship game for the second-straight season. Along the way, NIU earned quality wins against Big Ten champion Northwestern and MAC newcomer West Virginia, beating the Mountaineers twice, including in the MAC Tournament semifinals.
Five Huskies earned Academic All-MAC honors in 2012 while three Huskies, including Godsey, earned MAC All-Tournament team recognition. Godsey finished his NIU career with a school-record 35 career shutouts, 13th-best in NCAA history, and a school-record 0.80 goals against average.
In 2013, the Huskies again played a challenging schedule, facing three opponents in the top 20. The campaign was highlighted by the installation of lights at the NIU Soccer Complex as the Huskies cruised past Eastern Illinois, 3-0, on Oct. 22 in the first light game in the history of the facility. Isaac Kannah earned All-MAC honors after scoring a team-high six goals, becoming NIU's 13th all-conference selection in Biller's five seasons on staff. Off the field, five Huskies earned MAC academic honors, led by first team Academic All-MAC selection Dusty Page, who was also named to the CoSIDA District 5 Academic All-District Team.
On March 26, 2014, Biller was promoted by Luzzi to associate head coach. That fall, NIU recorded its first win over a ranked opponent since 2008 when the Huskies defeated No. 23 UIC. The Huskies also earned a number of individual honors during the 2014 season, including Issac Kannah earning First Team All-MAC honors, becoming NIU’s first three-time All-MAC honoree since Justin McGrane (2004-06). Dusty Page became the fifth Academic All-American in Huskie soccer history and five student-athletes earned Academic All-MAC honors.
Prior to arriving at NIU, Biller spent three seasons at NAIA perennial power Hastings College in Nebraska. The Broncos compiled an overall record of 44-14-5 and a 32-3-1 record in conference play, and finished in the national NAIA top-25 in all three years. Biller helped coach Hastings to three consecutive conference championships and two appearances in the National Tournament, including one to the Elite Eight in 2008. While at Hastings, Biller coached 17 all-conference selections, including 13 on the first team as well as four conference players of the year. Additionally, he coached three All-American selections during his time with the Broncos.
Before coaching at Hastings, Biller was a graduate assistant coach at Wayne State, where he served as the women's top assistant. With Biller's help, the Wildcats turned a corner in program history, ranking 15th among the most improved soccer teams in the nation in 2005. They posted ten wins that year, second most in school history.
Biller started his winning ways as a player at Simpson College. In his four seasons, the Storm went 55-23-8, and played in four postseason tournaments. With eight career goals and 10 career assists as a centerback, Biller displayed a tenacity on the pitch that helped Simpson to its highest ever ranking in the NSCAA poll in 2000. That year Simpson won the regular season and tournament championship on their way to the school's first ever appearance in the NCAA tournament.
Biller also serves as a United States Soccer Federation Development Academy scout, performing player identification and training evaluations for U.S. Youth National Teams.
He also has experience with the Nebraska Olympic Developmental Program, where he acted as the 1995 boy's head coach, and as a coach at multiple summer camps, including Creighton, Michigan State, South Florida, Oregon State and SMU.
Biller holds a United States Soccer Federation "A" coaching license along with a National Soccer Coaches Association of America Advanced National Diploma and Youth Diploma.
After graduating from Simpson in 2004 with a degree in sports administration, Biller earned his master's in sports management from Wayne State in 2006. He and his wife, Kelli, have a son, Dempsey, born in March of 2011, and a daughter, Ellis, born in December of 2013.