DeKALB – Ryan Diem's father Greg, and his father-in-law Bill Constein have been coming to the Brigham-Novak Gridiron Classic for years.
The golf tournament, which was held for the 19th time on Friday, has been an annual event where former Huskie players and coaches, as well as current coaches, get together for a day of golf. This year's event was held at Kishwaukee Country Club.
In the past, Ryan Diem wasn't able to attend, as he was busy beginning training camp with the Indianapolis Colts. After retiring following the 2011 season, he's jumped at the chance to head out to the event. Friday, he was in the same group as his father and father in law.
"They would come back every year back when I was still with the Colts and tell me about it," Diem said.
Diem, who played offensive tackle for the Colts from 2001-2011, still lives in Indianapolis. He said he was glad to leave professional football on his own terms.
"Honestly, I was ready to retire from football. It hasn't been a hard transition. I was ready to be done, and the starts kind of aligned," Diem said. We had a great run my whole career until my last year, we struggled as a team with the Colts. I knew that my contract was up, a lot of guys were going to get released from the team. We were about to have twin boys.
"The stars kind of aligned where we were like, my body's starting to feel it, I'm ready to call it quits and move on to the next chapter."
In addition to members of the current coaching staff, former coaches – including Bill Mallory, were present. Mallory, the Huskies' head coach from 1980-1983, actually coached current NIU head coach Rod Carey when both were at Indiana.
"I thought that was great, to see [Carey] be able to step in and continue on with the program here," Mallory said.
Mallory is a veteran of the Brigham-Novak, and has came out pretty much every year from his home in Bloomington, Ind. George Bork, the Huskies' quarterback on their 1963 College Division national championship squad, has also been out to his share of events. He said this year's was about his 15th time at the golf tournament.
"It's just kind of nice to see all the guys again and kind of reminisce about the old days, and talk about what's coming up," Bork said. "Trying to figure out who the quarterback's going to be. Nobody seems to know."