- Andrea Adelson, ESPN Staff Writer
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Nothing was about to stop Dave Doeren from heading to DeKalb, Ill., to take a look around Northern Illinois. Not his car being snowed into his driveway. Not blizzard-like conditions.
Doeren spent two hours digging his car out Sunday morning in Madison, Wisc., before calling a snowplow for help. He drove the two hours south to the campus in a blizzard to get a feel for the town and meet people on campus.
"I know he wanted the job because yesterday he spent two hours digging himself out of his driveway," NIU athletic director Jeff Compher said.
The Wisconsin defensive coordinator was officially introduced Monday at a press conference as the Huskies' head coach, taking over for Jerry Kill, who left to become the head coach at Minnesota. Vowing to bring a tough, physical brand of football, Doeren said was grateful to join a program that already has a winning foundation. Kill took the Huskies to three straight bowl appearances, and they came just short of the MAC championship this season.
"I'm not walking into a rebuilding job," Doeren said at his news conference. "I'm very fortunate to be walking into a place that has had success."
Doeren will remain with Wisconsin as defensive coordinator through the Rose Bowl presented by Vizio. When asked whether it would be hard to juggle both duties, he said, "No." When asked why he was doing it, Doeren said he wanted to finish what he started, and thought it would be great publicity for Northern Illinois to have a Rose Bowl coach on national television.
Doeren declined to answer whether he would take any of the Wisconsin assistants with him, but said he had preliminary discussions with coaches who were interested in joining him. He spent the last five seasons as an assistant at Wisconsin, the last three as the defensive coordinator and the first two as co-defensive coordinator. Doeren has never been a head coach on the FBS level.
"I believe in a physical brand of football," Doeren said. "We've talked about it in other places I've worked. It's not about looking pretty, it's about being physical and playing within the rules. It's a mentality that starts with me and every other coach I bring here."
As for Northern Illinois, the Huskies play Fresno State on Saturday in the uDrove Humanitarian Bowl in Boise, and will be coached by Tom Matukewicz in that game.