DeKALB – Northern Illinois running backs Jordan Lynch is making another return. This time, it'll be at a different alma mater.
Lynch, 27, is leaving the Huskies and will become the head coach of Mount Carmel High School football, multiple sources confirmed to the Daily Chronicle Friday morning. Mount Carmel later released an official statement Friday afternoon.
"I'm incredibly excited to be returning to the Caravan," Lynch said in a release. "I learned so much during my years at Mount Carmel, and will always be grateful to the great coaches who taught me character and what it means to sustain a winning traditon.
'I can't wait to get started."
Lynch takes over legendary coach Frank Lenti, who is stepping down after a amassing a state-best 374 career wins, 31 appearances in the state playoffs and 11 state titles. Lynch played under Lenti from 2006 to 2009.
Lynch, a Chicago native graduated from Mount Carmel in 2009 and played at NIU from 2010 to 2013. He was hired as NIU's running backs coach on March 8, 2017.
He helped guide the Huskies to a 8-5, 6-2 Mid-American Conference record during the 2017 season and NIU tailback Jordan Huff earned All-MAC Third Team honors.
NIU Coach Rod Carey said Lynch was an integral part of NIU’s success this season
“Jordan came back here and showed all our guys, especially our young guys what it means to be a huskie,” Carey said. “I have no doubt Jordan will go on to be a tremendous coach at the high school level and beyond.”
“I always knew when I got done playing football, I wanted to get into coaching,” Lynch said when he was hired in March. “I just love being around the players and being back at NIU. When [Coach Carey] started talking to me about the possibility of a position opening up here, I took some time and thought about it. I felt it was a great opportunity for me and I couldn’t pass it up. Some of my best memories of playing football have been here at Northern. To come back and help get the program get back to where it was appealed to me.”
NIU class of 2018 recruit Charles Robinson (Waubonsie Valley, Aurora) said Lynch was a huge part of his recruiting process and made him feel like he was part of a family.
"Coach Lynch always made sure I was on top of my grades and checked in on me daily, he was a real easy guy to talk too," Robinson said. "He even drove me to NIU when my mom couldn't take me for my official (visit). ... He's a big reason why I love NIU so much."
A two-time Vern Smith Leadership Award recipient as the MAC's best player, Lynch led NIU to a 2012 MAC Championship in his first season as the starting quarterback. With NIU's 44-37 overtime victory over Kent State, the Huskies earned a berth to the 2013 Orange Bowl – the first MAC school to participate in a Bowl Championship Series Bowl.
Lynch finished third in the 2013 Heisman Trophy voting – the highest finish by a player from the Mid-American Conference – and was named a first team All-American by the Associated Press.
He rushed for an NCAA quarterback record 1,920 yards and 23 touchdowns, while throwing for 2,892 yards and 24 touchdowns on 253 of 404 passing. Lynch's rushing mark is one of five NCAA records set in 2013.
After NIU, Lynch went undrafted in the 2014 NFL Draft and had a short stint with the Chicago Bears before playing two years with the Edmonton Eskimos in the Canadian Football League.
Mount Carmel President Ned Hughes said the school targeted Lynch because of his passion and energy, and the track record of success wherever he's played.
"Following in the footsteps of the greatest coach in Illinois history, we needed someone whose record would inspire respect and confidence from his student-athletes and colleagues, and who understands the high standards of Mount Carmel's program," Hughes said.
Mount Carmel athletic director Dan Lacount said Lynch will begin the transition process immediately, scheduling meetings with the team and current coaching staff next week.
Carey said he doesn’t plan on rushing to fill the currently vacant running backs coach position left behind by Lynch.
“I’ve already gotten 150 texts about it. We’ll sort through everything and take our time with this one,” Carey said.