DeKALB – No one can question Dave Doeren's commitment to Northern Illinois.
He and his family dug his car out of snow and ice at their Wisconsin home Sunday to drive to DeKalb as the Madison, Wis., area was blanketed with 10 inches of snow Saturday night and into Sunday morning.
Once he made it, the Wisconsin defensive coordinator agreed to a five-year deal at a starting salary of $371,000 to become the newest Northern Illinois head coach.
"Yesterday was an emotional day," Doeren said at this afternoon's news conference at the Convocation Center. "Been through a lot to get to this place. Had to dig the car out of the driveway. It was crazy."
Doeren will remain the defensive coordinator of the Rose Bowl-bound Badgers through the bowl game and will not be involved in NIU's preparation for Saturday's Humanitarian Bowl, but will begin to put together his NIU staff in the interim.
Doeren, 39, has been Wisconsin's defensive coordinator for the past five seasons, but he was the co-defensive coordinator from 2006-07. Wisconsin led the country in pass efficiency defense (84.19 rating) in 2006 and finished second to Virginia Tech in passing yards allowed a game (138.3) and scoring defense (12.1 ppg).
Doeren met with NIU players this morning. He said he is staying with Wisconsin through the bowl game to finish the journey that he started, and because he thinks it will be good exposure for NIU.
NIU Athletic Director Jeff Compher said he knew Doeren wanted the job when Doeren dug his car out of the snow and drove two hours in blizzard-like conditions to get to DeKalb on Sunday.
"I am thrilled to introduce Dave Doeren as the new head football coach at Northern Illinois University,” Compher said in a news release. “Dave has deep Midwest ties. He played and coached at Drake and has been at Kansas and Wisconsin. He knows Midwest recruiting and believes there is a wealth of talent in this area. His teams will bring a physical style of play that the Huskies have been known for."
Compher said in looking for the Huskies' next coach, he was looking for someone with experience, credibility and a desire to be in DeKalb.