Normally, when a coach departs a program right before bowl season — in this case, Dave Doeren leaving Northern Illinois for North Carolina State — the university names an interim coach while conducting a search for the next coach.
Not with NIU. The Huskies will in fact have a new head coach when they take on Florida State in the Orange Bowl next month. The school announced that offensive line coach Rod Carey will be the program’s 22nd head coach
“Every opportunity Rod has had to step up and make a difference in our program, he has done it,” athletic director Jeff Compher said in a release. “Whether developing a young, untested offensive line or stepping in as the offensive coordinator and play-caller in the second game of the season, he has responded with poise and professionalism. I’m confident he will do that again as our head coach. I’m very happy for him, his wife, Tonya and their entire family.
“What we need in our program is consistency and stability, and I believe that Rod brings that. This will allow us to stay on our current trajectory as a nationally-prominent program.”
“Obviously I am really excited about the opportunity, and thankful to [NIU President] Dr. [John] Peters, [NIU Director of Athletics] Jeff Compher and [former NIU Head Coach] Dave Doeren,” said Carey. “I want to thank Coach Doeren for everything I learned from him, and to Dr. Peters and Jeff for all the faith they are showing in me to lead this program going forward. My family and I are very excited about NIU and what is going on with the university, the athletic department and the football program.
“When you have a program like this, it’s not about what you can change; it’s about what you can keep. We’ve got great players and we want to keep this ball rolling.”
Carey just finished his second season with NIU. He previously was an assistant coach at North Dakota and Illinois State.
(Photo credit: NIU athletics)