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Highlights from the celebration of the NIU men's soccer team's 1-0 win over Western Michigan
In many ways, the career of Northern Illinois Associate Head Coach Scott Donnelly looks like that of Head Coach Eric Luzzi, on a three year delay.
Donnelly came to Northern Illinois three seasons ago with time as the head coach of an NCAA program, and has arrived with the connections, experience, and drive to help keep the Huskies on the winning track.
"He has experience dealing with players, coaching them up on the field, getting the most out of them," Luzzi said. "He has a fantastic eye for recruiting and getting the right kind of players and people in here that are going to continue to help us compete at a very high level."
Prior to the 2011 season, Donnelly was promoted to Associate Head Coach following successful 2009 and 2010 campaigns. "Coach Donnelly works very hard, he cares a great deal about our program and our players, and in general I would consider him to be one of the best assistant coaches in Division I soccer," said Luzzi. "He has all the tools necessary to eventually be an outstanding head coach, and I am thrilled to promote him."
The 2011 season was a banner year for the program, as Donnelly helped lead NIU to the Mid-American Conference championship and the 2011 Division I Men's Soccer Tournament, where NIU defeated Western Illinois 3-0 in the first round before bowing out to second-seeded Creighton. The Huskies tied the program's record for wins in a single season with their 15-6-0 record, and reached as high as #13 in the adidas/NSCAA national rankings and #16 in the NCAA RPI. The Huskies' final RPI of #24 was a program best as well. Following the season, the awards came rolling in for the Huskies as five players were selected for All-MAC honors, and four were named to the NSCAA All-Great Lakes region team - the most in the region.
In addition, Donnelly is the Huskies' recruiting coordinator. The Huskies' standout 2011 class included the first US Soccer youth national teamer to sign for the Huskies in Isaac Kannah (US Soccer U-18s). For 2010, Donnelly and Luzzi put together a stellar class that included seven domestic and three international players, which was named a national "Top 40 Recruiting Class" by College Soccer News. The group also included James Stevenson, a College Soccer News "Top 100 Player to Watch." Donnelly also coordinates with Luzzi and assistant coach Garrett Biller in training planning and player development, and serves as the program's primary film reviewer.
Before coming to DeKalb, Donnelly served as the head coach at Mars Hill College (NCAA Division II) in North Carolina, where in 2007 and 2008 he led the Lions to their two best seasons since the turn of the century. In 2008, Mars Hill recorded the fourth-highest win total in school history, and Donnelly guided the Lions to regional rankings in both of his seasons at the helm.
Also similar to Luzzi, Donnelly has an insatiable appetite for studying the game. Donnelly's credentials include both the United States Soccer Federation "A" License, and the NSCAA Premier Diploma. Additionally, he has served on NCAA and NSCAA regional ranking committees, and as a Division II national championships site representative.
Donnelly graduated from the State University of New York, Geneseo with a double major in English Literature and Spanish Language in 2002, and earned his MA in European History from Washington College in 2005. His playing experience includes time at both SUNY Geneseo and Binghamton University, and a season playing professionally in the USL Second Division.