Brett Diersen, a defensive line coach with extensive Midwest ties who is well-known to Northern Illinois head football coach Rod Carey, has joined the Huskie coaching staff as defensive line coach.
Diersen spent the 2012 season at Florida Atlantic University where he coached the Owls’ defensive line and served as special teams coordinator under head coach Carl Pelini.
In 2011, he was the defensive ends coach and recruiting coordinator at Indiana after spending the 2008-10 seasons on the University of Nebraska coaching staff, where he assisted with the defensive line and special teams.
“We are extremely happy to have Brett on board,” Carey said.
“He brings a work ethic that is unparalleled. He is very detailed in his approach to the defensive line and has coached some of the greats, including Ndamukong Suh (at Nebraska). I am really excited about his ability to teach football to our players and to keep our defensive line playing at an elite level. He and his wife, Jenna, are expecting their first child and I know they’ll fit perfectly into our Huskie family.”
The connection between Carey and Diersen dates back to the 2000 season, when Carey took over as offensive coordinator and offensive line coach at Wisconsin-Stout, where Diersen was a graduate assistant on a Blue Devils team that went into the Division III playoffs undefeated.
After coaching the defensive line, outside linebackers and special teams at the University of Dubuque from 2001-03, Diersen returned to UW-Stout as defensive coordinator in 2004 and was reunited with Carey. The two remained with the Blue Devils through 2006.
Diersen spent the 2007 campaign as defensive line coach at Minnesota State-Mankato before going to Nebraska the next season.
He was on the Cornhuskers’ defensive staff for three seasons and Nebraska ranked in the Top 10 nationally in pass efficiency defense, passing defense and scoring defense in 2010 and led the nation in scoring, pass efficiency and red zone defense in 2009 behind Suh, who was named the Associated Press National Player of the Year and won the Bronko Nagurski, Rotary Lombardi, Outland and Chuck Bednarik awards.
The native of Appleton, Wis., spent the 2011 season as recruiting coordinator and defensive ends coach at Indiana before re-joining Pelini’s staff at Florida Atlantic in 2012. Diersen said the chance to return to the Midwest and to work for Carey brought him to Northern Illinois.
“I’ve known Rod for 12 years coming through the D-III ranks,” Diersen said. “For me, taking a job has everything to do with the people you are going to work with, and I’m happy to be able to take a job back in the Midwest for a man like Rod. I know what he believes and what I believe are the same. I’m walking into a great opportunity at a university where football is important and I can’t wait to get started.”
As a player, Diersen was a three-time all-conference defensive end at Huron (S.D.) University from 1994-98, where he earned his bachelor’s degree in 1998. He added a master’s degree in education from UW-Stout in 2005.
Diersen is the second coach hired by Carey, who was named the Huskies’ head coach on Dec. 2, 2012. Diersen joins Thad Ward, who was announced as NIU’s new wide receivers coach last month, as the first two new coaches on the 2013 Northern Illinois staff.