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NIU assistant comes from national champs

Published: Thursday, April 4, 2013 5:30 a.m. CDT
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Rob Winner – rwinner@shawmedia.com Northern Illinois cornerbacks coach Kelvin Sigler during practice at Huskie Stadium in DeKalb, Ill., Wednesday, March 27, 2013.

DeKALB – In January, Kelvin Sigler arrived in Miami just as Northern Illinois left.

Sigler, entering his first season as NIU’s cornerbacks coach, was a defensive analyst for Alabama and watched the Crimson Tide defeat Notre Dame, 42-14, in the BCS National Championship Game. A week earlier, NIU lost to Florida State, 31-10, in the Orange Bowl in the same stadium.

After NIU left Miami, Alabama stayed at the same hotel (Fontainbleau on Miami Beach) and used the same practice facility (Barry University) the Huskies did leading up to the Orange Bowl.

At the time, Sigler hadn’t been in contact wtih NIU yet. But in a bit of coincidence, he was named NIU’s cornerbacks coach Feb. 18, replacing Richard McNutt, who left for N.C. State.

At Alabama, Sigler was part of a winning tradition matched by no other program in the country. The 2012 national title was the Crimson Tide’s third in the past four seasons, and Sigler also was a defensive back in Tuscaloosa from 1995 to ’98 under Gene Stallings and Mike DuBose.

Last season as a defensive analyst, Sigler was a coach away from the field, helping to break down film and getting ready for practice. He wanted the chance to be an on-field coach again and couldn’t pass it up when NIU offered.

“Just the opportunity, to get an opportunity to come here and get a chance to get back on the field and coach,” Sigler said. “Coach (Rod) Carey and coach (Jay) Niemann gave me the opportunity, it was just something I couldn’t turn down.”

Carey said Sigler has the type of background he’s looking for, and likes having another coach with head coaching experience on staff. Sigler has an extensive background coaching high school football in Alabama. He was the head coach at Blount High School in Mobile, Ala., from 2008-11 and also as a defensive coordinator at Bob Jones High in Madison, Ala., from 2004-08.

“He knows how to relate to players,” Carey said. “He’s had to do that from 14-year-olds to now, 22-year-olds.”

Sigler brings more Mobile flavor to the Huskies, and will recruit Alabama from Montgomery north. Offensive coordinator Bob Cole currently recruits the Mobile area.

There already are two Mobile natives on the roster, cornerback Marlon Moore (C.F. Vigor) and safety Jimmie Ward (Davidson), whom Sigler coached against. Another Mobile product, running back Jordan Huff (St. Paul’s Episcopal), will join the team in the fall.

“[Moore and Ward] both remembered me, just coaching against them,” Sigler said. “ ... It made the transition (to NIU) a little bit smoother since I knew some of the guys coming in.”

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