t is with great enthusiasm that I welcome you to the 2007-2008 Huskie Athle!cs Annual Report. While not directly involved with these accomplishments of our talented student-athletes, coaches, and sta", I have certainly gained a great apprecia!on for them since joining the NIU Athle!cs family in June. With all of us working together, I am condent we can take our athle!c program to even greater heights. Since being named Associate Vice President and Director of Athle!cs, my family and I have made an extremely fast but gra!fying transi!on. I am even more excited about char!ng a course for the future of our Huskie athle!c program than I was when I shook President Peters’ hand and accepted the posi!on last spring. As you will see throughout this document, 2007-08 was a year which centered on student-athlete achievement – both with unprecedented academic honors and tremendous individual accolades. Certainly, it was a challenging year for our ins!tu!on, but our student-athletes, coaches, and department sta" forged ahead with an undaunted spirit and commitment to excellence that should make you extremely proud to be a#liated with a program that engenders pride and achievement. As an important stakeholder for Northern Illinois University, you play a crucial role in the health and well-being of our athle!c department. Your involvement with Huskie Athle!cs, both directly and indirectly, helps provide the resources that allow our talented student-athletes to get an educa!on, compete at the highest level of college athle!cs, and make a life-long impact on their lives. We have much to be proud of here at NIU. Thanks in large part to your interest and support, we are blessed with the opportunity to con!nue to enhance compe!!ve opportuni!es for our student-athletes. Unques!onably, we had some fantas!c accomplishments this year – highlighted by an amazing SIXTH straight semester with a student-athlete grade point average above a 3.0. Having had a chance to do a preliminary review of our opera!ons, our budgets, and our sports programs, I want you to rest assured that we can expect success in all we do. I want you to know that I expect great things from our coaches, sta", student-athletes and from the many fans and supporters like yourself who have a passion for Huskie Athle!cs. Now, we must take that next step. In my ini!al weeks on the job, I had the opportunity to meet individually with each of our head coaches and each member of our senior administra!ve team. Among the recurring themes in those mee!ngs were passion, commitment, and poten!al. My sense is that we are on the verge of something very special. You are part of our team with one collec!ve goal: We should prepare for and EXPECT SUCCESS! GO HUSKIES!
C. Je!rey Compher Associate Vice President/Director of Athle!cs Northern Illinois University
uskie student-athletes turned in another outstanding performance in the classroom in 2007-08. NIU’s 467 student-athletes nished the spring with a cumula!ve grade point average of 3.051, marking the sixth-straight semester that NIU has surpassed the 3.0 mark. In addi!on to six consecu!ve semesters at the 3.0 level, Northern Illinois studentathletes have achieved the mark in eight of the last nine terms, da!ng back to Spring of 2004. NIU’s 3.051 GPA is the third-best cumula!ve mark in school history and combined with the 3.062 obtained this fall, Northern Illinois turned in its best back-to-back semesters ever. Leading the way during the spring term was the women’s gymnas!cs team as that squad posted a grade point average of 3.382. The spring semester ended with record-se$ng GPAs for the NIU football, wrestling and women’s track & eld teams. Once again, every NIU sports program exceeded the NCAA’s academic standards for 2008 as measured by the Academic Progress Rate (APR). For the second-straight year, the Huskies’ women’s golf team achieved a perfect mark of 1000 and ranked in the top 10 percent of all women’s golf squads in the na!on. NIU saw 49 of its student-athletes achieve their goal of earning an undergraduate degree from Northern Illinois University in 2007-08.
Women’s tennis player Nao Umemura was one of 34 Huskie student-athletes to post a 4.0 grade point average during the spring semester.
The NIU men’s tennis team dominated the 2008 Academic All-MAC Men’s Tennis Team, accoun!ng for ve of the 10 posi!ons on the squad.
Meghan Ginter, Cross Country
Jen Rice, Gymnas!cs
Student-Athlete Academic Support Services is the academic unit within the NIU Vice Provost’s O#ce which serves student-athletes. Members of the SAASS sta" work collabora!vely with other university o#ces to provide student-athletes with the tools necessary for success. Maintaining strong working rela!onships with departmental academic advisors, professors, and university-wide student support services departments ensures that student-athletes are aware of and have access to all resources and programs on NIU’s campus. The SAASS sta" provides educa!onal and life skills programs to achieve our goal of enhancing student-athletes’ academic, athle!c and social skills.
The NIU wrestling team ranked 10th in the na!on with a 3.10 grade point average in the Na!onal Wrestling Coaches Associa!on’s 200708 Division I All-Academic Top 30. The Huskies are the top-ranked MAC program on the list and had the highest GPA among teams in the Midwest. The Huskies had 11 wrestlers with GPAs above 3.0 last year.
The NIU Women’s Golf Team recorded a perfect mark of 1000 and ranked in the top 10 percent of all women’s golf squads in the na!on in the NCAA’s 2007 Academic Progress Rate Report. It is the fourth-straight year coach Pam Tyska’s squad has maintained a perfect APR.
Javier Bernabe, Men’s Tennis Brandon Bice, Football Jon Brost, Football Jimmy Chu, Men’s Tennis Lindsey Curnock, Women’s Soccer Karen Enockson, Women’s Soccer Alex Friesen, Men’s Tennis Meghan Ginter, Women’s Track & Field Zach Jecklin, Men’s Golf Irene Johnson, Volleyball Kyle Knotek, Men’s Soccer Kalen Knull, Wrestling Alfonso Monroy, Men’s Tennis Jennifer Naughton, Gymnas!cs Ma% Simon, Football Jus!n Stewart, Football Ka!e Sturges, Women’s Soccer Shari’ Welton, Women’s Basketball Diego Zegarra-Ballón, Men’s Tennis
cademics and athle!cs are just a part of the student-athlete experience at Northern Illinois University. Through NIU’s CHAMPS/Life Skills program, Huskie student-athletes develop into leaders and role models in the community. During their !me at NIU, Huskies par!cipate in numerous community service ac!vi!es, hear from decorated guest speakers and learn life-long skills through ini!a!ves of the CHAMPS/Life Skills program. This past year, Huskie student-athletes volunteered at numerous events throughout the DeKalbSycamore area, including the YMCA Halloween Party, the Lincoln Elementary School Fun Fair, Hope Haven Shelter and the Dekalb County Rehab and Nursing Center. Another facet of NIU’s CHAMPS/Life Skills program is the Student-Athlete Advisory Commi"ee, a group of leaders from each of Northern Illinois’ 16 programs which regularly meet to plan community service events and to provide the administra!on with the student-athlete’s perspec!ve on NCAA, MAC and NIU athle!cs issues. Through the SAAC, Northern Illinois student-athletes ac!vely par!cipate in their department. One of the key components to CHAMPS/Life Skills is the “Hour of Power,” a series of workshops covering a variety of topics ranging from professional development, including résumé wri!ng, interviewing skills and professional e!que"e, to real-life experiences such as gambling, substance abuse and nancial planning. Several !mes each semester, all NIU student-athletes a"end these one-hour sessions.
The Student-Athlete Advisory Commi$ee (SAAC) sold ra%e #ckets at basketball games and raised $1,500 for the February 14 Student Scholarship Fund. Above, the members of the SAAC Execu#ve Board, Whitney Lowe, women’s basketball; David Koronkiewicz, football; Tara Michels, women’s basketball; and Will McDermo$, wrestling, present NIU provost Raymond Alden with a check for the money they raised.
All Northern Illinois student-athletes are required to carry their “Smart Card” at all #mes. The Smart Card reminds student-athletes to make the right decisions in life, and that the choices they make today will a"ect them long a!er they leave NIU. Marcus Perez of the Huskie football team (le!) showed o" his ar#s#c skills at the Lincoln Elementary School Fun Fair.
Men’s soccer player Chris Tidwell (right) got the thumbs up from a Lincoln Elementary School student for his work at the Fun Fair. He and his teammates (le!) were just a few of the Huskie student-athletes who par#cipated.
Since 2003, NIU golfers have been working with the Illinois’ Hook a Kid on Golf program. Hook a Kid provides structured instruc!on for kids 5-15 and teaches them a skill that will be benecial in their personal and professional lives. Through the help of its many sponsors, benefactors and volunteers, this organiza!on has touched the lives of thousands of kids.
NIU head women’s golf coach Pam Tyska passes on her knowledge and passion of the game of golf to youngsters looking to learn a game they can play for the rest of their lives.
This past year, all 17 Huskie teams, cheerleaders and Huskie Interns par!cipated in the Northern Illinois Resource Bank Challenge of Champions to see which group could perform best on and o# the eld. Teams received points based on excelling in the NCAA CHAMPS/Life Skills ve commitment areas: academic excellence, athle!c excellence, personal development, career development and service. The 19 compe!ng teams totaled over 3,300 community service hours through the Challenge, in addi!on to pursuing ac!vi!es that will enhance their academic and professional sides. The Huskie football team won the Challenge of Champions !tle, accumula!ng 4,205 points, earning 3,070 points from community service, which translates to approximately 1,000 total hours. The football team spent !me assis!ng local non-prot groups and volunteering at elementary schools to push them ahead of the pack.
NIU chief of police Donald Grady was one of several guest speakers to visit with Huskie student-athletes during the year as part of the “Hour of Power” series.
Senior Michelle Nendza closed out her Huskie career with a bang, hi&ng 10 home runs in 2008 to eclipse NIU’s previous single-season record of eight. She moved up to second on the all-#me chart with 22 career blasts.
nce again, Northern Illinois University’s student-athletes dis!nguished themselves in the athle!c arena in 2007-08. Records were broken, honors awarded and milestones were reached by Huskie teams, coaches and individuals. Six Huskies earned MAC specialty awards and ve represented NIU in NCAA regional compe!!on, while two others garnered na!onal recogni!on. NIU posted wins over two top 10 teams last season with both wins coming over the same school. The men’s soccer team defeated then-No. 9 Northwestern, 2-1 in double over!me, while the wrestling team scored a 22-19 win over then-No. 5 Northwestern. For the second-straight year, the MAC Football MVP came from Northern Illinois, as defensive end Larry English was selected by MAC coaches as the 2007 Vern Smith Leadership Award winner. English, a junior, led the MAC in sacks with 10.5 and tallied 17 tackles for loss and 67 tackles on the season to become the rst defender to earn league MVP honors since 1982. He was also named rst team All-MAC marking his second straight rst team all-league nod.
Freshman Darion Anderson certainly made an impact in his rst season of collegiate basketball. A$er leading NIU and ranking 17th in the league in scoring, he was named MAC Freshman of the Year and www.midampub.com Freshman of the Year. Anderson also was named to the www.collegeinsider.com Freshman Mid-Major All-American Team and www.collegehoops.net Freshman Mid-Major All-American Second Team. He became the rst freshman to lead NIU in scoring since T.J. Lux accomplished the feat in 1995-96.
Wrestling Northern Illinois extended its streak of sending at least one wrestler to the NCAA Championships to 37 seasons (1972-2008) when three Huskies advanced to the NCAAs in 2008, including MAC Champions Pat Cas!llo and Pat McLemore. The Huskies won seven straight dual meets from Nov. 24, 2007 to Jan. 20, 2008, including a 22-19 upset of then-No. 5 Northwestern, and placed third at the MAC Championships in 2008. Cas!llo went 31-4 in his nal season, bringing his career total to 108 wins. Head coach Dave Grant also reached a career milestone, winning his 100th career dual meet with a 42-6 win over Augustana.
Senior grappler Pat Cas!llo turned in another outstanding season to close out his Huskie career. For the second straight year, Cas!llo was named the MAC Tournament Most Outstanding Wrestler en route to earning his third trip to the NCAA Championships.
For the rst !me in school history, NIU sent two gymnasts, Leah Johnson and Holly Reichard, to compete in the allaround at NCAA Regionals. It was the eighth !me in the last nine years that the Huskies have sent at least one gymnast to postseason compe!!on. Reichard became only the second NIU gymnast named to the All-MAC rst team a$er a stellar freshman campaign as she shared the league !tle on the uneven parallel bars to become the second individual champion for the Huskies since 1998 and the rst since 2005. A$er winning 10 dual meets during the season, the Huskies nished a half a point out of second place at the MAC Championships.
The Huskie men’s tennis team nished 2008 strong, pos!ng a 10-7 mark and advancing to the seminals of the MAC Tournament for the second straight season. NIU had two student-athletes earn specialty awards from the MAC coaches as junior Brian Livingston was selected as MAC Men’s Tennis Player of the Year, while senior Alex Friesen received the Jack Vredevelt Sportsmanship Award.
Women’s Golf Led by senior Abbie Many and sophomore Kim Hunley, the Huskie women’s golf team turned in a solid 2007-08 campaign. NIU won two team events, the Huskie Classic and Snowbird Intercollegiate, and scored six top 10 team nishes. Many won the Western Illinois Invita!onal, while Hunley took home victory at the Snowbird Intercollegiate. Freshman Jessica Parmenter had a strong season in her rst year of collegiate golf, placing in the top 10 in ve events.
Alex Friesen capped o# his NIU career by earning First Team All-MAC honors, his second-straight All-MAC selec!on, and was the recipient of the Jack Vredevelt Sportsmanship Award. Friesen, who posted a 25-8 record in singles while playing the No. 2 spot for NIU, is the third Huskie in the last ve years to take home the league’s leadership award.
Senior Zach Jecklin led the way for the Huskies at the 2008 MAC Men’s Golf Championships as he !ed for seventh a$er carding a 294 (72-72-74-76). However, Jecklin’s biggest honor came when he was voted the 2008 MAC Sportsman of the Year by league players, the rst Huskie to win that o%cial award.
Baseball The Huskie baseball squad had a record-se&ng season in 2008, pos!ng the school’s highest MAC winning percentage (.615), matching the school record in league wins with 16 and establishing a school record with a .963 team elding percentage. NIU set the all-!me Huskie baseball a"endance record when 4,600 fans saw Northern Illinois take on Notre Dame on April 16 at U.S. Cellular Field in Chicago. The Huskies were ac!ve on the basepaths, leading the conference in stolen bases with 83. Head coach Ed Mathey became the school’s career coaching wins leader on March 22 at Bu#alo, when the Huskies defeated the Bulls, 10-3. A$er nishing the 2008 season with 28 Jus!n Behm First Team wins, Mathey has 167 career victories six seasons as Andy Deain Second Team skipper of the Huskies.
Junior Brian Livingston was selected the 2008 MAC Men’s Tennis Player of the Year by league coaches a$er pos!ng a 24-6 mark in singles compe!!on in 2007-08, including a 17-2 record in the spring. Livingston was equally successfull in doubles play. Paired with Adam Ford, the Huskies’ No.1 doubles team posted a 20-8 record.
NIU pitcher Adam Holdenrid was one of nine Division I baseball players chosen by the American Baseball Coaches Associa!on to receive the Rawlings Gold Glove Award for his outstanding defensive play in 2008. The rst Huskie to earn a Gold Glove, Holdenrid was perfect in 27 elding chances, including 20 assists, in 13 starts during his senior season.
hree words in the Huskie Fight Song took on a new meaning in 2008. “Forward, Together Forward” became the mantra of Northern Illinois University and the en!re community following the tragic events that occured on campus on February 14, 2008. On that day, ve NIU students lost their lives and 18 others were injured when a gunman opened re in a lecture hall. In the wake of the shoo!ng, NIU President Dr. John Peters called for a week of healing. As a result, 25 Huskie athle!c compe!!ons were either cancelled or rescheduled. When the mourning period ended and classes resumed, the Huskies returned to compe!!on. The rst home event was a men’s basketball game against Western Michigan. While NIU lost the game, the outcome took a back seat to what happened at the Convoca!on Center that night. Northern Illinois took the rst step, albeit a small one, forward, together forward.
Prior to the Huskies’ contest with Western Michigan, the two teams joined at midcourt for a moment of silence. Western Michigan was one of the many MAC schools to show their support for NIU, placing black bands on their jerseys.
Chicago’s professional sports franchises were quick to rally around the NIU community a#er the tragedy. The Chicago White Sox went out of their way to reach out to Northern Illinois. The White Sox wore NIU baseball caps in their spring training opener and on Opening Day, the families of the ve vic!ms were guests of the White Sox and President Peters threw out the rst pitch. They also donated $70,000 to the February 14th Fund. The Bulls wore NIU t-shirts during pregame warm ups at New Jersey and their home game with Denver. A moment of silence was observed before the Bulls !pped o" against the Nuggets at the United Center. The NHL’s Chicago Blackhawks placed the black NIU ribbon on the back of their helmets, while the Cubs observed a moment of silence on Opening Day at Wrigley Field, and an NIU ag will y over the stadium for the remainder of the 2008 season.
An instant connec#on was made with Virginia Tech following the shoo#ng. Hokie student-athletes and coaches, who su"ered a similar tragedy at their school, reached out to their Huskie counterparts to o"er support.
The DeKalb-Sycamore community showed their unity with NIU at the DeKalb vs. Sycamore boys basketball game February 16th by wearing Huskie shirts and observing a moment of silence.
NIU’s contest with Iowa was the rst Division I-A collegiate game played at Soldier Field since it was renovated in 2002-03 and set a MAC record with 61,500 fans.
Former Northern Illinois standouts Garre" Wolfe and Stephanie Raymond were honored by NIU during the game and they presented their jerseys to their university.
NIU’s game at Soldier Field marked the rst !me the Huskies had played at the historic lakefront site.
Huskies and Hawkeyes alike enjoyed tailga!ng outside Soldier Field before the game and thousands of college football fans lled the city on Labor Day weekend.
hen former NIU head football coach Joe Novak arrived in DeKalb, one of his dreams was to play a game at Chicago’s historic Soldier Field. That dream was realized September 1, 2007, when the Huskies faced o! against the Iowa Hawkeyes in the rst Football Bowl Subdivision (FBS) game played at the lakefront facility since its renova"on in 2003. Sold out two months in advance, the capacity crowd of 61,500 provided an incredible atmosphere and ooded the city on Labor Day weekend. While victory eluded the Huskies on the eld, Northern Illinois, college football, Soldier Field and the city of Chicago all came away as winners. The stadium was lled, NIU strengthened its rela"onship with the third-largest market in the country and the fans saw a great college football game.
The Huskies returned to the Windy City in the spring, but this "me for a very di!erent reason. The Northern Illinois University baseball team took on the Figh"ng Irish of Notre Dame on April 17, 2008 at U.S. Cellular Field in a benet game for the Forward, Together Forward Scholarship Fund. The contest came about when former NIU baseball coach and current Notre Dame head coach Dave Schrage reached out to his former school and proposed the two teams play each other. Once again stepping up to assist Northern Illinois University was the Chicago White Sox organiza"on, which agreed to host the game and to donate all proceeds from the contest to the Scholarship Fund. Huskie fans turned out in droves, providing a great atmosphere as a school-record 4,600 fans witnessed the game.
The Huskies’ contest with Notre Dame at U.S. Cellular Field was the rst !me NIU had played in a major-league park.
Notre Dame head coach Dave Schrage, NIU’s former head coach, and Huskie skipper Ed Mathey, Schrage’s successor, took a few moments to visit before the game.
Huskie baseball players enjoyed seeing their names up in lights on U.S. Cellular Field’s Jumbotron.
Newly-hired Northern Illinois University Associate Vice President/Director of Athle!cs Je# Compher threw out the rst pitch.
orthern Illinois was in the na!onal spotlight once again in 200708. The media blitz began with NIU’s game against Iowa at Soldier Field which drew an impressive media con!ngent (right). Aired on ESPNU, the game was one of 10 Huskie football games broadcast in 2007 and one of 42 televised in the last four seasons. Northern Illinois con!nued its rela!onship with media partners WSCR AM 670 “The Score” and Comcast SportsNet last year as their broadcasts reached hundreds of thousands in the third-largest market in the country. On February 26th, the na!onal media converged on DeKalb to cover the Huskies’ men’s basketball game with Western Michigan at the Convoca!on Center, the rst game played at NIU following the February 14 tragedy. Among those in a"endance was a crew from CBS Sports which taped a piece that aired na!onally on NCAA Selec!on Sunday. Throughout the year, Huskie student-athletes and sports programs were regularly featured in newspaper ar!cles and websites across the country, including The Chicago Tribune, Chicago Sun-Times, Daily Herald, espn.com, and cbssportsline.com, as well as in newspapers in Florida, Texas and Virginia.
With expanded feature stories, Q&As with Huskie student-athletes, chats with Northern Illinois coaches and a weekly newsle!er, the o"cial athle#cs website of Northern Illinois University, www.niuhuskies.com, con#nues to be the No. 1 place for Huskie fans to nd all their informa#on on NIU Athle#cs. With features like GameTracker and Huskies AllAccess, Huskie fans anywhere in the world can follow all their favorite teams without leaving their computer.
aying goodbye is never easy. It’s even harder when you’re saying goodbye to someone who has meant so much to so many. In 12 years as head football coach at Northern Illinois University, Joe Novak made a posi!ve impact on the lives of the players he coached, the assistant coaches who worked for him and the NIU and DeKalb-Sycamore communi!es. At the !me of his re!rement, Novak ranked eighth in the MAC in all-!me wins with 63, and was !ed for eighth in MAC-only wins with 47. The Huskies also succeeded in the classroom. Six of his players earned CoSIDA Academic All-America honors and two earned Na!onal Football Founda!on ScholarAthlete awards. The Huskies sent their top dog o# in style. “A Night With Champions” celebrated Novak’s career at NIU and was highlighted by the return of many of his former players. Over 450 fans and friends had one last chance to honor a great coach and say farewell to an old friend.
Several of Joe Novak’s former players spoke about his impact on their lives at the event, including (from le! to right); Doug Free, P.J. Fleck, Ryan Diem, Jus"n McCareins, Garre# Wolfe, Mitch Jacoby and Josh Haldi.
• Compiled seven consecu#ve winning seasons from 2000-06, leading the Huskies to a 53-30 (.639) record, the 25th-best in the country during that span. • Led the Huskies to two bowl appearances, including a victory in the Silicon Valley Classic in 2004. • Earned MAC Coach of the Year honors a$er leading NIU to an 8-4 season in 2002, and won four MAC West #tles.
NIU President Dr. John Peters and deputy athle"cs director Robert Collins present Novak with a framed photo from the Iowa-NIU game at Soldier Field.
• Garnered AFCA Region Three Coach of the Year accolades in 2003 a$er leading NIU to upset wins over Maryland and Alabama, and to a No. 12 na#onal ranking.
Joe and Carole Novak and new Huskie head man Jerry Kill and his wife Rebecca.
• Guided eight players to All-America status, coached 41 All-MAC honorees, and had ve players taken in the NFL Dra$.
ne year ago, Huskie student-athletes gained a huge advantage in their quest for excellence with the opening of the 62,000 square foot Je#rey and Kimberly Yordon Academic and Athle!c Performance Center. Anchoring the north end zone of Huskie Stadium, the Yordon Center is the cornerstone where current and future student-athletes will prepare for success on and o# the eld. A landmark project in the annals of the ins!tu!on, the comple!on of the Yordon Center highlighted two important themes that exemplied the generous donors who made this project a reality: legacy and commitment. Legacy, because of the powerful message sent by the rst facility in the athle!c department’s history built with private funding. Leadership donors believed in the ins!tu!on and the NIU Founda!on when they shared the vision, they saw the vision become reality, and now they see the fruits of that vision. That is a very powerful statement. By providing gi$s to the Yordon Center, the commitment to a rst-class student-athlete experience at NIU is unmatched and unprecedented. What a wonderful founda!on to con!nue the momentum for improving compe!!ve opportuni!es – in the classroom and on the playing surfaces – for our talented studentathletes.
Below: The Yordon family (le! to right), Rachael, Je$rey, Kimberly and Alexis.
An additional objective of a restructured Huskie Athletic Scholarship Fund is the revitalization of the Varsity Club, the ofcial organization for former student-athletes, managers, trainers and coaches at Northern Illinois University. It is truly important to reconnect with all of our former Huskie student-athletes who have meant, and still mean, so much to our program. Any former student-athletes who joins the HASF at ANY level is automatically a member of both the HASF and the Varsity Club. In addition to receiving HASF benets that correspond with your donation, you will receive all benets of being a member of the Varsity Club, which include invitations to special events, a chance to reconnect with former teammates and coaches along with discounted football season tickets. Any Varsity Club questions can be directed to Matthew Mattmiller, Varsity Club Coordinator, at (815) 753-5510.
The leadership donors that helped make the Je$rey and Kimberly Yordon Academic and Athle"c Performance Center a reality a#ended the building’s dedica"on before the Huskies’ 2007 home opener. Through their generosity, and the contribu"ons of all HASF members, Huskie student-athletes have one of the nest facili"es in the country in which to hone their skills in the classroom and on the playing elds.
On behalf of our 467 studentathletes and 148 dedicated coaches and sta%, Huskie Athle#cs and the Huskie Athle#c Scholarship Fund say
THANK YOU for your
During the month of May, NIU coaches and athle!c sta# hit the road for the annual Huskie Spring Caravans. Northern Illinois alumni, fans and supporters had the opportunity to meet and greet various Huskie coaches in Rockford, Chicago, St. Charles and DeKalb/Sycamore. The Huskie Caravans are held as a part of the Huskie Athle!c Scholarship Fund Spring Drive, the annual e#ort to increase membership in the program’s primary direct support organiza!on.
Student-athlete success, both in the classroom and in compe!!on, o$en requires a
Because of record dona!on levels, our respec!ve sports programs will con!nue to
leap of faith to achieve team and individual goals. Many !mes, that is due to the fact
have their compe!!ve opportuni!es improved on an annual basis. Restructuring the
that goals are set to reach heights never before achieved. Within the framework of
HASF and directly reinves!ng in our most precious resource – the student-athlete – has
the Huskie Athle!c Scholarship Fund (HASF), both our loyal Huskie fans of many years
not only had a tangible impact on Huskie Athle!cs, but also gives donors the benet of
and our new donors to the HASF have united and taken that leap of faith to provide
knowing that every gi$, no ma"er the size, directly assists in the implementa!on of our
unprecedented support for our student-athletes and sports programs.
department’s core values.
To make a di!erence in the lives of Huskie student-athletes, contact: Huskie Athle#c Scholarship Fund Convoca#on Center 213 DeKalb, IL 60115 Phone: 815-753-1923
This past February, the HASF kicked o# its annual fund drive with a pre-game celebra!on prior to the men’s basketball game against Ohio. A crowd of over 400 loyal HASF supporters and new prospec!ve members a"ended the func!on and had an opportunity to interact with Huskie head coaches and studentathletes.
NIU women’s golfer Abbie Many (le!) and new head football coach Jerry Kill (above) were among the Huskie student-athletes and head coaches on hand to visit with the over 400 supporters of Huskie Athle"cs at the Kicko$.
orthern Illinois boasts some of the nest facili!es in the country. From the recently-opened Je"rey and Kimberly Yordon Center to the world-class golf course at Rich Harvest Farms, Huskie studentathletes are provided with all the necessary tools to achieve their goals both in the classroom and in athle!c compe!!on. Everything in the $14 million Yordon Center is state-of-the-art. The Fran and George Wilkins Academic Support Center, a 15,000-square foot strength and condi!oning center, mee!ng rooms, a !ered auditorium, modern training and rehabilita!on center and a spacious football locker room give all Huskie student-athletes and coaches a great sense of pride. With a central loca!on and beau!ful architecture, facing the north endzone, the Yordon Center is the crown jewel of NIU Athle!cs. The Yordon Center and Huskie Stadium join the six-year-old Convoca!on Center to highlight NIU’s athle!c footprint on the western edge of the NIU campus. While NIU’s basketball programs and volleyball team are the primary tenants of the Convoca!on Center, gymnas!cs and wrestling also call the “Convo” home. The Convoca!on Center contains locker rooms, a training room with exercise and rehabilita!on equipment, and athle!c sta" o#ces, while Victor E. Court is home to Huskie Volleyball and provides a spacious prac!ce arena for NIU’s basketball teams. In the spring of 2008, construc!on began on NIU’s new Track & Field/Soccer Complex. The eight-lane track will be made with state-of-the-art material that is conducive to both training and compe!!on, and includes an eight-lane straightaway. The north zone will house the high jump area, while opposite the high jump will be an area for the
Located in the shadows of the east stands of Huskie Stadium is Mary M. Bell Field, the home of Huskie so"ball.
Clockwise from Bo!om: Huskie studentathletes have the benet of some of the nest facili!es in the country. In the Yordon Center, Huskie student-athletes have access to a stateof-the-art computer lab; the new equipment room has plenty of space to store all the football team’s gear; the 15,000-square foot strength and condi!oning center allows Huskie studentathletes to stay in peak physical shape
Clockwise from Top: Year in and year out, the Convoca!on Center con!nues to prove its versa!lity. Victor E. Court in the Convoca!on Center is home to Huskie volleyball, while the main arena oor serves as the se#ng for Huskie basketball, as well as, select gymnas!cs and wrestling meets; the Huskie basketball teams enjoy a comfortable and spacious locker room.
pole vault, and the west side of the track will For more informa!on on all of NIU’s athle!c be home to three jump pits. The premier facilites, including an expanded photo gallery, log on agent in reducing the length of meets is to www.niuhuskies.com and click on facili!es. the separate throws area, which will sit just south of the track. The complex’s two shot put rings, hammer/discus ring and javelin runway are placed so they won’t interfere with any running events. The interior of the track will house the new compe!!on home of Northern Illinois men’s and women’s soccer. The turf will be Fifa 2-Star Cer!ed when complete, meaning it is the highest quality ar!cial soccer surface available today. With all the advantages of grass, the surface will also allow for a consistency that grass does not guarantee. Rich Harvest Farms, a world-class facility and na!onally-renowned golf course located in Sugar Grove, Ill., is the home for Northern Illinois’ men’s and women’s golf teams. Beau!ful yet treacherous, the course is full of scenic views and challenging shots. The Huskie Indoor Training (H.I.T.) Center is one of the newest In 2009, the course will be the site of the Solheim athle"c training facili"es on campus. The H.I.T. Center serves as the Cup, an interna!onal women’s golf compe!!on. indoor prac"ce home for NIU’s baseball, golf and so#ball programs. Opened Nov. 1, 2007, the 9,800-square foot facility features an Astroturk carpet oor and sport specic ligh"ng. Space is divided equally for baseball/so#ball and golf, and retractable ne$ng allows for the redis"bu"on of prac"ce space. Four full-size ba$ng cages are located on the baseball/so#ball side, while the golf side features space for six prac"ce tees surrounded by ne$ng.
orthern Illinois University’s collec!on of coaches con!nue to raise the bar and excel not only in their sports, but in their profession as well. Two made their Huskie debuts in 2007-08, including one beginning her head coaching career. Huskie alumna Carol Owens con!nues to see her star on the rise as one of the top up-and-coming coaches in women’s college basketball. In 2008, she was selected to the Board of Directors of the Women’s Basketball Coaches Associa!on and Black Coaches & Administrators. Three Huskie head coaches reached career milestones and another set a school record in 2007-08. Wrestling coach Dave Grant picked up career
Two Huskie head coaches spent the summer of 2008 coaching teams from the United States overseas. NIU head volleyball coach Ray Gooden led Bring It!, a team of 18-21 year-old women’s volleyball players from the United States, in the Global Challenge 2008 in Pula, Croa!a. The tournament featured some of the best 18-21 year-old volleyball players in the world. Meanwhile, head women’s basketball coach Carol Owens served as head coach of the 2008 USA Women’s Basketball U18 Na!onal Team at the 2008 FIBA Americas U18 Championship for Women in Buenos Aires, Argen!na. Owens spent her third straight season with USA Basketball and her rst as head coach as she led Team USA to the gold medal.
Dave Grant reached a career milestone this past season when he recorded his 100th career victory on Dec. 15, 2007 with a 42-6 win over Augustana. In 12 years with NIU, Grant has turned in a 108-826 record and has sent a Huskie to the NCAA Championships in each of his 12 seasons. The Huskies have also produced the Most Outstanding Wrestler at the MAC Tournament the last two seasons.
Huskie skipper Ed Mathey made NIU history on March 22, 2008. With his team’s 10-3 victory over Bu"alo, he surpassed Spanky McFarland as the Huskies all-!me winningest baseball coach with his 140th Huskie victory. In six seasons at NIU, he has amassed 167 wins and four winning seasons.
victory No. 100, while rst-year head so$ball coach Lindsay Chouinard scored her rst career victory in the Huskies’ season opener. In fact, Chouinard became the rst Huskie head so$ball coach to win her rst four games. The Ricardo Pa%on era began at NIU in 2007-08. Pa%on earned his rst victory at NIU with a thrilling 65-63 win over Lamar Dec. 1, 2007, and head baseball coach Ed Mathey became the Huskies’ all-!me winningest baseball coach. NIU welcomed three coaches to the Huskie Family in 2007-08 and all three come with excellent creden!als. New head football coach Jerry Kill, was named to replace the re!red Joe Novak on Dec. 13, 2007. Kill’s hire was followed by the addi!on of Carrie Barker as the Huskies’ women’s head soccer coach in 2008, while new head men’s tennis coach Pawel Gajdzik joined the NIU family in July. WELCOME!.
Jerry Kill was named the 20th head football coach in Huskie history Dec. 13, 2007. The veteran head coach brings a wealth of experience and championship creden!als to NIU. In seven season at Southern Illinois, Kill posted a 55-32 record and won three straight Gateway Football Conference !tles from 2004-06. The Salukis made ve straight Football Championship Subdivision playo" appearances over the last ve seasons and Kill was twice named the FCS Coach of the Year.
Carrie Barker brings more than 10 years of experience as an assistant coach in the Big Ten to her new post at Northern Illinois. Before coming to DeKalb, Barker was an assistant coach at her alma mater, Wisconsin, for the past three seasons. There, she helped the Badgers to two NCAA Tournament appearances and a Big Ten Tournament Championship in 2005.
Pawal Gajdzik came to DeKalb a$er serving as a volunteer assistant coach at na!onal powerhouse Baylor University from 2002-08. During his tenure, the Bears advanced to the NCAA Tournament all seven seasons, including their 2004 Na!onal Championship and runner-up nish in 2005.
• Compiled a career record of 104-57 (.646 winning percentage) in 14 seasons as a collegiate head coach. • Named 2004 Eddie Robinson Na"onal Coach of the Year and earned the 2007 Liberty Mutual Coach of the Year Award at Southern Illinois. • Named AFCA I-AA Region 4 Coach of the Year in 2003 and 2004 and led the Salukis to the FCS na"onal seminals in 2007. • SIU earned the Gateway Football Conference All-Academic Award, given to the football program with the best overall cumula"ve GPA in both 2004-05 and 2005-06. • Coached ve rst-team All-Americans and four Walter Payton Award nalists.
orthern Illinois has established over 100 corporate, media and retail partnerships, delivering valuable exposure and o!ering unique marke"ng opportuni"es. Those e!orts not only benet Huskie student-athletes, but also contribute to the fan experience at every NIU home game. During the 2007-08 scal year, the NIU Sports Marke"ng o#ce achieved its goals in genera"ng corporate sponsorship revenue, overall "cket revenue and licensing revenue. Corporate support of Northern Illinois Athle"cs - as evidenced by sponsorship revenue - increased by over 150 percent in 2007-08. The Huskies engaged in interac"ve rela"onships with na"onal brands adidas, Allstate, Papa John’s, Applebee’s and Best Buy while maintaining local connec"ons with partners like Rosita’s Mexican Restaurant, Fa$y’s Pub and Grill and Casey’s. Huskie football games o!ered more pre- and post-game entertainment for fans of all ages in 2007 with the addi"on of post-game autographs and the revamping of the Tent-A-Gate area. The excitement con"nued during basketball season when groups such as the Chicago Bulls’ Matadors and Jessie White Tumblers came to the Convoca"on Center to entertain the fans. Brad Hoey (right) hosts “Inside Huskie Sports,” an in-depth weekly television show highligh"ng Northern Illinois programs, coaches and student-athletes. It airs throughout the region on Comcast SportsNet Chicago.
Huskie Athle"cs would like to extend a special thanks to the following 2007-08 Northern Illinois sponsors: adidas Village Commons Allstate Bookstore Gatorade Jewel Osco Resource Bank TCF Bank Applebee’s Comfort Inn and Suites Papa John’s Air 1 Wireless Best Buy University Plaza NIU MBA Program Fa!y’s Pub and Grill US Cellular The Daily Herald Casey’s General Store WSCR “The Score” Comcast SportsNet Road Ranger Rosita’s Mexican Chipotle Restaurant Blaine’s Farm and Fleet
A!er a hard-faught contest, Huskie studentathletes sign autographs and visit with some of their young fans.
Promo"ons like the Kick-o# Frenzy presented by Resource Bank add excitement for the fans and value and exposure for NIU sponsors.
With plans from only $6.95 per month, and more and more free content, Huskies All-Access is the online home for the most comprehensive live coverage of Northern Illinois University sports. Live game video and audio, postgame and weekly press conferences, as well as highlights and interviews, are just some of the special features of Huskies All-Access.
NIU has enjoyed a strong rela"onship with WSCR 670 AM “The Score” and Comcast SportsNet. WSCR is the radio home for Huskie football and men’s basketball games, while Comcast SportsNet aired four Huskie home football games in 2007. NIU wrapped up its third season with the Score and its second year of a mulit-year deal with Comcast SportsNet in 2007-08.
NCAA Basketball mascot J.J. Jumper made a visit to NIU for a women’s basketball contest with Ball State on Jan. 12, 2008.
here is a special atmosphere on game day at Northern Illinois University. It is students suppor"ng their classmates. It is tradi"ons and teamwork, and old friends reuni"ng and reminiscing. It is a community rallying around their university, and bringing people together for a common goal: cheering the Huskies on to victory. Tailga"ng before a football game at There is nothing like a sun-splashed day at Huskie Stadium for an Huskie Stadium is fun for all. a%ernoon of football. Tailga"ng, the marching band, cheerleaders, the team running out of the Yordon Center to take the eld — all provide an unmatched sense of an"cipa"on. Huskie football is not just a game, its an event. When the clock hits 0:00 and the Huskies are victorious, fans celebrate the triumph the rest of the night and savor the win for the next seven days. In the winter, fans head indoors and converge on the Convoca"on Center, home of Huskie basketball. In the in"mate se&ng of the “Convo,” fans are treated to giveaways, special promo"ons and unique hal%ime entertainment, all while enjoying exci"ng basketball ac"on. Last year, the NCAA’s basketball mascot, J.J. Jumper, made a visit, and the Jesse White Tumblers thrilled the fans with their gravity-defying rou"nes. With nine Huskies returning to this year’s women’s basketball team and head men’s coach Ricardo Pa$on entering his second season at NIU, this upcoming year promises another exci"ng season of Huskie basketball.
The Red Riot is a student group formed in conjuc"on with the NIU Marke"ng O$ce for the purpose of suppor"ng all 17 Huskie intercollegiate athle"c teams. Members receive a T-shirt, giveaways and special promo"onal opportuni"es.
Whether it’s “The Pride of the Midwest,” the Northern Illinois Marching Band at football games or NIU’s Pep Band at basketball contests, the band sets the tone for all Huskie home football and basketball games. Along with the cheerleaders and NIU’s dance team, the Silvere%es, they help keep the fans energized throughout the game.