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Carey adjusts football coaching staff duties

February 7, 2013
Coach Rod Carey leads the first practice in Miami.

Rod Carey

Northern Illinois head coach Rod Carey continues to put the pieces of his 2013 Huskie coaching staff in place, announcing Wednesday that three returning members of the NIU staff will take on additional duties.

Carey also gave two of the four new coaches hired since he took over prior to the Huskies’ appearance in the 2013 Discover Orange Bowl additional responsibilities.

With one coach still to be hired, Carey said the 2013 Northern Illinois staff already ranks as the best in his experience.

“I was determined to bring in a great group of coaches who complimented the strengths and addressed the weaknesses of our staff,” he said. “As a group, we’ve definitely accomplished that with the support and guidance of [Northern Illinois Associate Vice President and Director of Athletics] Jeff Compher.

“Collectively, this staff brings toughness, hard work and determination every day. This is the best group of teachers of the game of football that I’ve ever been around, and I’m confident they’ll get the best out of our players.”

Veteran coach Bob Cole, who worked with the Huskie wide receivers in 2011 before moving over to coach NIU’s quarterbacks last season, will serve as Northern Illinois’ offensive coordinator in 2013. Cole will continue to work with the Huskie quarterbacks while leading the NIU offensive staff.

Kevin Kane, another two-year veteran of the Huskie staff who has coached tight ends and fullbacks (2011) before moving over to linebackers last season, adds duties as special teams coordinator in 2013. Joe Tripodi, who completed his third season on the Huskie coaching staff in 2012 working with the tight ends and fullbacks, assumes a full-time role as the NIU offensive line coach.

“Bob Cole was an integral part of the offense last year, so it’s a natural transition for him to become offensive coordinator, and keeping Joe Tripodi on staff to coach our offensive line was also a natural fit with his background as an offensive lineman and his three years of experience at NIU. He coached our tight ends and fullbacks last year, which is an extension of the offensive line,” Carey said. “Coach Kane has run our punt team for the last two years and that unit has finished in the Top 10 nationally so I’m excited to see what he can bring to all of our special teams units.”

Brett Diersen

Brett Diersen

Carey also announced that assistant coach Brett Diersen will serve as NIU’s recruiting coordinator in addition to his defensive line duties.

Diersen came to Northern Illinois after one year at Florida Atlantic University, where he coached the Owls’ defensive line and served as special teams coordinator. In 2011, Diersen 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.

NIU new tight ends and fullbacks coach Tim Polasek, who spent the last seven seasons at North Dakota State where he helped the Bison win back-to-back NCAA Football Bowl Subdivision Championships in 2011 and 2012, will direct Northern Illinois’ football camps.

Northern Illinois has also added Roy Manning and Thad Ward to the offensive staff working with running backs and wide receivers, respectively, and have key roles on special teams.

Manning comes to NIU after coaching running backs at Cincinnati in 2012 in his second stint with the Bearcats. A former University of Michigan linebacker who played three seasons in the NFL, Manning previously served on the coaching staff at UC in 2010 and spent the 2011 campaign as a graduate assistant coach at Michigan.

Thad Ward

Thad Ward

Ward, a former wide receiver for UCF, was the first assistant coach hired by Carey. He joined the NIU staff after one season at Western Michigan where he tutored MAC Freshman of the Year Jamie Wilson, and previously spent six seasons (2005-10) as running backs coach at Western Illinois. A Florida native, he has also coached in the Florida high school ranks.

“I feel great about all four guys because they’re great teachers of the game,” Carey said. “They believe in fundamentals and hard work. Above that, they’re all great family men, great people and great leaders of men. I’m looking forward to seeing them help our kids become better football players and better people.”

With Jay Niemann returning for his third season as defensive coordinator, Carey now one spot left to fill on the defensive staff as he will bring in a coach to work with the Huskie defensive backs.

“Jay Niemann will continue to lead our defense,” Carey said. “Our defense made significant strides from 2011 to last year and they were a very steady group throughout the course of last season. We look forward to more of that in the future.”

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