July 26, 2012
DEKALB, Ill. -- Northern Illinois men’s soccer head coach Eric Luzzi announced changes to his coaching staff today. Luzzi announced assistant coach Garrett Biller has been promoted to the top assistant coach position, Mike Boland has been promoted from his position as volunteer assistant coach and Nick Stirrett has joined the Huskie soccer staff as a volunteer assistant coach.
"Garrett and Mike have been very important to the success of our team over the last couple years,” said Luzzi. “I am happy to reward their quality and their loyalty by elevating each of them within our staff. I know they are excited for the new responsibilities and challenges that their new roles within our staff will bring."
Biller joined the NIU staff in 2009, Luzzi’s first season as head coach, and will become NIU’s recruiting coordinator. In addition to his on-field coaching role, Biller has been responsible for scouting, recruiting, academic oversight and has been the director of Huskie soccer camps. Biller has been in charge of the Huskie backline and goalkeepers, helping NIU to top-15 team goals against averages in two of the past three seasons. During the offseason, Biller earned his United States Soccer Federation “A” coaching license.
Boland begins his third season as a member of the NIU soccer staff after spending two seasons as a volunteer assistant. Prior to NIU, Boland has been an assistant coach at William Penn University. Boland also worked as the Director of Coaching at Northern Illinois FC and played for Luzzi at St. Mary’s (Minn.) from 2002-05. With his promotion, Boland will have increased responsibility in all aspects of the Huskie soccer program, including recruiting and scouting.
Biller and Boland helped guide NIU to one of the program’s most successful season in 2011 as the Huskies tied a program record with 15 victories en route to a Mid-American Conference championship and an automatic bid to the NCAA Tournament. NIU was ranked as high as No. 13 in the adidas/NSCAA national ranking and No. 16 in the RPI, finishing with a program-best RPI of 24.
The newcomer to the staff, Stirrett comes to NIU following two seasons as an assistant and goalkeeper coach at DePauw University. Stirrett helped the Tigers to a 16-3-1 record last season including a North Coast Athletic Conference championship, an NCAA Tournament berth and a final national ranking of 24th.
"After my first season as head coach in 2009, I had told myself that the next time we had any movement in our staff that I had to bring in a goalkeeper coach,” Luzzi said. “Although I have background as a goalkeeper and goalkeeper coach, the reality is that as a head coach I am not able to give our goalkeepers the attention that they need. I am very excited to bring Nick on to our staff. He will do a great job with our goalkeepers and also add to our staff by bringing a different perspective based on what he learned in his time working at DePauw, which is one of the best Division III programs in the nation."
The staff changes came about following the departure of Scott Donnelly who became associate head coach at Southern Illinois University-Edwardsville.
“Scott is the kind of person who is constantly looking for new challenges,” said Luzzi. “I think he is excited for the challenge of helping to build the program at SIU-E. Kevin Kalish (SIU-E head coach) is a good guy and a good coach and I'm sure he will be pleased with what Scott will bring to their program."
The Huskies begin the 2012 season with an exhibition against Notre Dame on Sunday, Aug. 12 at 12:30 p.m. in DeKalb. NIU will open the regular season at Creighton on Friday, Aug. 24 at 7 p.m.