Sitting in with Jeff Compher

I sat down this week with Northern Illinois athletic director Jeff Compher to talk about a variety of things.

Parts of our conversation will appear in articles in your Daily Chronicle over the next few weeks, but there are a few important matters to let you know about.

On the rumor that the football team's scheduled game this coming season against Idaho had been changed or cancelled: "I can tell you that I got the preliminary schedule from the conference on Friday and our pre-conference schedule is exactly what we've talked about thus far. All of that could change tomorrow but there is no change that I'm aware of and I'm certainly not advocating for any change. I like the schedule as it is."

On the plan to build an indoor practice facility, mentioned in the strategic plan unveiled last week: "This is over a three-year plan. What I'm hoping for is in the next three years is to actually put a plan in place. We've got to be cognizant of where we are economically but our program needs are still there.

"It's something I want to keep on the front burner but I don't want it to be a distraction for our community. I think Toledo is building one right now. We'll be one of three schools in the conference that don't have one after that. Will we start this anytime soon? I don't know. I think we've got the support out there from people who are willing to help us, we've just got to keep in mind where we are economically."

My take: Compher wants to build an indoor practice facility, but I think it's pretty easy to read here that NIU doesn't have the funds for it yet.

On NIU not being included in Chicago's 2016 Olympics bid: "When it was hosted in Los Angeles (in 1984) I remember I was living in Maryland. We had a men's soccer game at the Naval Academy. I just think what they try to do is go to venues around the country to build interest and bring it back to the city for championships, which makes sense to me.

"I've talked to some people about this in concept. If Chicago is awarded the games I'd like to reach out and talk to various nations and say 'We might be a good site for you to come to get acclimated to the area, the weather, the region.' Maybe they come here and do some initial training. Use our campus, we can set up some arrangement to use our facilites. That way they're close to their ultimate venue, similar weather, but they'll have a chance to train in a little more privacy.

"I think of track teams and cycling and others where they're going to want to get accustomed to the weather."

On the one coaching hire he's had to make since taking the job, men's tennis coach Pawel Gajdzik: "When Pawel and I first were talking I said 'Pawel, this is a big deal for the both of us. You're my first coaching hire and this is your first chance to be a head coach.' He said 'I will not disappoint you.' And he hasn't.

"He's done a very good job. He has high expectations for his team. I really like what he's done. I think he's created a different level of expectation around the team."

On a separate note, DeKalb junior center Jordan Threloff, who has drawn offers from NIU and a few other schools, confirmed yesterday that DePaul has offered him a scholarship.

If you want an idea of the type of program Threloff comes from, check out these stories (here, here and here) on the DeKalb basketball team and a story that's received some national attention.

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