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Breaking news: NIU hires Fleck as receivers coach

DeKALB - The Golden Boy is making his return. Sources have confirmed former Kaneland and Northern Illinois standout wide receiver P.J. Fleck will become the Huskies' new wide receivers coach. Fleck would replace Carnelius Cruz. Cruz just finished his first year as Northern Illinois' wide receivers coach after spending the last five coaching the running backs at New Hampshire. Fleck spent the last year as an offensive graduate assistant at Ohio State. He worked directly with the Buckeyes' tight ends and assisted with the special teams. The 5-foot-10 Sugar Grove native made a name for himself for the Knights, earning all-state honors twice in three sports - football, basketball and track - while helping lead the football team to back-to-back state titles in 1997 and 1998. Fleck continued his stellar playing career at Northern Illinois, finishing with 179 receptions and 2,162 yards during from 1999 to 2003. He was a First-Team All-Mid-American Conference selection his senior season. Fleck signed with the San Francisco 49ers in 2004 as an undrafted free agent, and spent the season on the practice squad before appearing in a game late in the season against the New England Patriots. He was on the injured reserved roster during the 2005 campaign and was released in June. As one former standout returns, another is on his way out. Running backs coach Thomas Hammock, who rushed for 1,000-plus yards for the Huskies in 2000 (1,083) and 2001 (1,095), is in the final stages in taking an assistant job at Minnesota. Hammock returned to DeKalb in 2005 after two seasons at Wisconsin working one year as an administrative assistant with the football program and one as a graduate assistant. He will most likely take over as the Gophers' running back coach. First-year Minnesota coach Tim Brewster will release the list of coaches once paperwork is finalized next week. The Huskies did receive another piece of good news on Friday as Miami (Florida) has chosen Patrick Nix of Georgia Tech as its new offensive coordinator, according to ESPN.com. Northern Illinois offensive coordinator John Bond interviewed for the opening and was one of the frontrunners for the position. Nick Gerts can be reached at ngerts@daily-chronicle.com.

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