The Joe Novak Coaching Tree

An underrated aspect of Coach Novak's tenure from 1996-2007 is the amount of assistants that have since gone on to succeed at BCS schools. Often, these coaches weren't properly compensated for how much they brought to the Northern Illinois program. Things have changed since, but the attrition of assistant coaches were one of the main reasons NIU had gone from the top of the MAC to mediocre in Novak's latter years as head coach. Just look at how we lost both our offensive and defensive coordinators (Canada & Shafer) after the legendary 2003 season where we were nationally ranked. They had to strike when the iron was hot to get better paying jobs.

Coach Novak says it best in this article from 2004:

"I guess you would say this is the price of success," said Novak, who led the Huskies to a 10-2 campaign, Top 30 national rankings, and victories over Bowl Championship Series opposition such as the University of Maryland, University of Alabama, and Iowa State University last fall. "We really brought in some good coaches, which will augment a fine, hard-working staff. While we’re sorry to see some people leave, we’re extremely happy with the coaching expertise that this new group brings to the table. There’s no doubt in my mind that our recent success helped attract this group to our program."

Since the end of the 2003 season, defensive coordinator and secondary coach Scott Shafer went to the University of Illinois, offensive coordinator and quarterback coach Matt Canada took a position at his Indiana University alma mater, wide receivers coach George McDonald joined the Stanford University staff, and tight ends coach Bill Bleil went to the University of Pittsburgh.

Novak is part of Miami Ohio's famous "Cradle of Coaches", having played football there and served as an assistant coach. Novak himself might have sparked some bright careers and some possible future head coaches during his tutelage.

BCS Coaches:

Bill Bleil

Current Job: Iowa State Assistant Head Coach/Tight End Coach
At NIU: (2003) Tight Ends Coach

Jay Boulware

Current Job: Wisconsin Tight Ends Coach
At NIU: (1997) Tight Ends Coach, (1998-2000) Co-Offensive Line Coach

Matt Canada

Current Job: NC State Offensive Coordinator/QBs Coach
: (1998-2000) Running Backs, (2001-02) Quarterbacks Coach, (2003) Offensive Coordinator

Mark Hagen

Current Job: Texas A&M LBs coach
At NIU: (1996-99) Defensive Tackles Coach

Thomas Hammock

Current Job: Wisconsin Assistant Head Coach/RBs Coach/Recruiting Coordinator
At NIU: (2005-06) Running Backs Coach

George McDonald

Current Job: Syracuse Offensive Coordinator
At NIU: (2001-03) Wide Receivers Coach

Pat Narduzzi

Current Job: Michigan State Defensive Coordinator
: (2000-02) Linebackers Coach

Sam Pittman

Current Job: Arkansas Offensive Line Coach
: (2003-06) Assistant Head Coach/Interior Offensive Line

Tim Daoust

Current Job: Syracuse Defensive Line Coach
At NIU: (2002-03) Graduate Assistant

Dan Roushar

Current Job: Michigan State Offensive Coordinator
: (1997-2002) Offensive Coordinator/Offensive Line Coach

Scott Shafer

Current Job: Syracuse Head Coach
: (1996-99) Secondary Coach, (2000-03) Defensive Coordinator & Secondary Coach

DeAndre Smith

Current Job: Syracuse RBs Coach
At NIU: (2001-04) Running Backs Coach

NFL Coaches:

Mike Mallory

Current Job: Jacksonville Jaguars Special Teams Coordinator
: (1996-99) Defensive Coordinator/Linebackers Coach

Other coaches to keep track of:

Chris Beatty

Current Job: Illinois Co-Offensive Coordinator / Quarterbacks Unemployed
: (2007) Assistant Coach/Running Backs Coach

Levern Belin

Current Job: Liberty Defensive Line Coach (FCS)
At NIU: (2004) Defensive Interior Line Coach

John Bond

Current Job: Georgia State Offensive Coordinator/QBs Coach (FCS)
: (2004-06) Offensive Coordinator

Denny Doornbos

Current Job: Citadel Assistant Head Coach/Defensive Coordinator/DL Coach
At NIU: (2003) Linebackers Coach, (2004-07) Defensive Coordinator/Linebackers Coach

Harold Etheridge

Current Job: Georgia State OL Coach
: (2007) Offensive Line Coach

P.J. Fleck

Current Job: Western Michigan Head Coach
At NIU: (2007-09) Wide Receivers Coach, (2008-09) Recruiting Coordinator

Vinson Reynolds

Current Job: Western Michigan Defensive Line Coach
At NIU: (2000-03) 1st Team All-MAC Defensive End

Mike Sabock

Current Job: Western Michigan Running Backs/Special Teams Coach (RETIRED)
At NIU: (1996-2007) Defensive Ends/Recruiting Coordinator

Roy Wittke

Current Job: Eastern Illinois Director of Football Operations
: (2007) Offensive Coordinator/Quarterbacks Coach

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