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Dave Doeren to lead NIU football program

December 13, 2010
Dave Doeren

Dave Doeren

Dave Doeren, a 16-year collegiate coaching veteran who has helped take teams to eight bowl games and two national championship contests, was introduced to the Northern Illinois University football team this morning as the 21st head football coach in NIU history.

NIU Associate Vice President and Director of Athletics Jeff Compher, who led the week-long head coaching search, made the introduction of the 39-year-old Doeren, who currently serves as defensive coordinator at the University of Wisconsin.

Doeren is completing his fifth season at Wisconsin in 2010.

In January of 2008, he added defensive coordinator duties to his assignment as linebackers coach after spending his first two seasons in Madison as the Badgers’ co-defensive coordinator, linebackers coach and recruiting coordinator. The Shawnee Mission, Kan., native has also served on successful coaching staffs at Kansas (2002-05), Montana (2000-01), USC (1998-99) and Drake (1995-97), his alma mater.

He began his coaching career at Shawnee Mission Northwest High School in Shawnee, Kan.

“I am thrilled to introduce Dave Doeren as the new head football coach at Northern Illinois University,” Compher said. “Dave has deep Midwest ties. He played and coached at Drake and has been at Kansas and Wisconsin. He knows Midwest recruiting and believes there is a wealth of talent in this area. His teams will bring a physical style of play that the Huskies have been known for. 

“We often talk about being able to ride the bus, he’s not just riding the bus, he has driven the bus. I like the way he has moved up the coaching ranks from high school to Drake and Montana, to USC, Kansas and Wisconsin. He is an experienced coach with a wealth of knowledge who can improve on who we are and lead us on that next step to a championship. We welcome Dave, his wife Sara and their boys to the Huskie family.”

Dave DoerenNIU President John Peters provided his endorsement.

“We are very pleased to attract a coach of Dave’s caliber from one of best programs in America,” Peters said. “I feel confident the Huskie football program is in good hands and will build on the successes we have enjoyed this century.”

Doeren thanked Compher and Peters for the opportunity and said he is ready to help the Huskies reach the next level.

“I am extremely proud to be a part of the Huskie family,” Doeren said. “To have the opportunity to work at a program that Coach Novak and Coach Kill have built, and continue building toward excellence, is a dream come true. This is something that I‘ve thought about for the last 16 years, I can’t wait to get started. I look forward to making the former players, alumni and NIU community proud of the product they see on the field, in the classroom and in the community.” 

During Doeren’s time at Wisconsin, the Badgers have posted a 49-15 overall record and played in the Champs Sports Bowl (twice), Outback Bowl and Capital One Bowl. This year’s 11-1 UW team will take on TCU in the 2011 Rose Bowl; the 2009 team won 10 games for just the sixth time in school history. 

His UW defenses have consistently been ranked in the national top 25 in NCAA defensive categories. The 2010 Wisconsin defense ranks 22nd in the country in total defense and is in the Top 30 in both rushing and scoring defense. A year ago, Wisconsin led the Big Ten and ranked fifth in the country in rushing defense, allowing just 88.2 yards per game to record the second-best rush defense in school history. The Badgers held each of their last 10 opponents in 2009 to less than 100 yards rushing, the longest streak in school history. Wisconsin led the nation in pass efficiency defense in 2006 and was the No. 2 scoring defense in the country.

His pupils at Wisconsin have included current National Football League linebackers Jonathan Casillas of the New Orleans Saints and DeAndre Levy, the Detroit Lions’ middle linebacker. Badgers’ linebacker Chris Borland was named the 2009 Big Ten Conference Defensive Freshman of the Year.

Doeren arrived at Wisconsin after four seasons at the University of Kansas from 2002-05. He was the linebackers coach and recruiting coordinator for his first three seasons before being promoted to co-defensive coordinator in the summer of 2005. The Jayhawks led the Big 12 Conference and ranked No. 3 nationally in rushing defense that year and were 11th nationally in total defense. KU linebacker Nick Reid was named the Big 12 Defensive Player of the Year.

Prior to his time in his home state, Doeren coached the secondary at NCAA Division I-AA power Montana for two seasons and was the Grizzlies’ recruiting coordinator for one year. Montana won the I-AA national championship in 2001 and went 28-3 with two conference titles in Doeren’s two seasons there. 

Doeren’s bowl experience goes back to his days as a graduate assistant at Southern California (USC) when the Trojans played in the 1998 Sun Bowl. The Trojans led the nation in interceptions that year with 24, while the 1999 squad led the nation in turnover margin.

He started his college coaching career as an assistant at Drake from 1995-97 where he coached linebackers, adding defensive coordinator chores in 1997. A four-year letterwinner at Drake (1990-93), Doeren earned Academic All-America honors as a senior and graduated with a bachelor’s degree in pre-medical biology and a master’s in educational leadership.

The Huskies’ new head man, who coached against Northern Illinois in games at Wisconsin in both 2007 and 2009, said he was looking forward to learning more about the team, the university and the community in the coming weeks while continuing his duties at Wisconsin through the Badgers’ bowl game.

He and his wife, Sara, have three sons, Jacob, Luke and Connor.

“Sara and I look forward to becoming active members of the community and getting to know our fellow Huskies,” Doeren said. “The next plan of action is to get a great recruiting class and the best staff that we can as soon as possible.”

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