Northern Illinois offensive coordinator Rod Carey was named as the team’s football coach at a news conference on Sunday night.
Carey becomes the 22nd coach in school history and takes over for former coach Dave Doeren, who left to take over as North Carolina State’s head coach Saturday.
Carey will lead the Huskies when NIU (12-1) takes on Florida State (11-2), the Atlantic Coast Conference champion, Jan. 1 at the Orange Bowl in Miami. It is the school’s first Bowl Championship Series bowl game.
“It’s been a whirlwind 48 hours after the MAC Championship, but it’s been a good 48 hours,” Carey said. “We’re excited about the Orange Bowl as you can imagine. We will represent the MAC well. We will represent NIU well.”
Carey has spent the past two seasons as part of Doeren’s coaching staff. He was originally brought on as the offensive line coach in 2011, but added the title of run game coordinator to his responsibilities at the beginning of the 2012 season. He assumed the role of offensive coordinator after the first game of the season when Mike Dunbar left the team for health reasons.
After Doeren left on Saturday for N.C. State, Carey said he sat down with NIU athletic director Jeff Compher and President John Peters to the discuss the opening. Carey said those talks continued Sunday before he took the job.
“What we need in our program is consistency and stability, and I believe that Rod brings that,” Compher said. “This will allow us to stay on our current trajectory as a nationally prominent program.”
Carey said he didn’t plan to change a lot in NIU’s offensive and defensive systems, but noted there would be subtle differences.
Quarterback Jordan Lynch, who broke the single-season FBS record for rushing yards by a quarterback, said the team’s familiarity with Carey is a big positive.
“Coach Carey, he’s done a great job taking over since coach Dunbar departed,” Lynch said. “He’s the perfect man for this job. He’s a players coach and a lot of people love to be around him.”
Carey’s first game as a collegiate head coach will come in the biggest game in NIU history.
“I don’t know [what to expect] because it’s going to be my first [game],” Carey said. “It’ll be fun. I’m really excited about it.”