NCF Nation: Jeff Compher

Lunchtime Links

December, 14, 2010
Here are some links to get you through lunch.

Utah QB Jordan Wynn had successful shoulder surgery on Monday.

Southern Miss' seniors keep their postseason tradition alive.

Nevada returned to practice after a week off, but still has a long wait until playing Boston College in the Kraft Fight Hunger Bowl on Jan. 9.

Former Fresno State players recall a 73-18 loss to Northern Illinois in 1990 as the two teams prepare to meet in the uDrove Humanitarian Bowl.

San Diego State coach Brady Hoke denied having contact with Pittsburgh.

Credit Northern Illinois AD Jeff Compher for the way he handled the hiring of Dave Doeren.

New Louisiana coach Mark Hudspeth has to hit the ground running.

Terrance Owens will start at quarterback for Toledo against FIU in the Little Caesars Pizza Bowl, but injured starter Austin Dantin (shoulder/collarbone) could play.

Alabama receivers coach and recruiting coordinator Curt Cignetti has emerged as a leading candidate to be named head coach at Kent State, reports.

California recruit Will Gregory hopes to fill the shoes of Alex Green at Hawaii next season.

UTEP is healthier going into the New Mexico Bowl against BYU everywhere except QB, where Trevor Vittatoe is still hampered by an ankle injury.Vittatoe will get "an extensive operation" on Monday, coach Mike Price said.
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.
Northern Illinois coach Jerry Kill is headed to Minnesota, and will not coach the Huskies in the uDrove Humanitarian Bowl against Fresno State.

Athletic director Jeff Compher confirmed that Kill told him and his players Sunday that he would be leaving for the Big Ten. Compher has not named an interim coach, because he does not yet know which members of the staff will be staying with the Huskies. Complicating matters is the fact that the game is Dec. 18, less than two weeks away.

"The timing no matter when it is is never good," Compher said on a conference call late Sunday night. "Jerry's more than just a coach. He's a friend, so there are mixed emotions as I'm sure the players feel. But when you think of the opportunity we have, we need to go win a bowl game and that's the No. 1 priority."

The hiring appeared to go down rather quickly. Compher said he spoke to Minnesota athletic director Joe Maturi on Saturday and then again Sunday. Kill informed him of his decision within the last 24 hours, and broke the news to his team at the team banquet Sunday night.

"It's a feeling I can't comprehend right now," NIU quarterback Chandler Harnish said. "Disappointment, shock, but we're moving on and we still have a bowl game to focus on. There's a lot of mixed emotions on the team. Everyone's like what's going on right now?"

Kill has led the Huskies to three bowl games in his three years there. They went 10-3 this season and are coming off a heartbreaking loss to Miami (Ohio) in the MAC title game. But when Compher looks for his next coach, he knows he must find somebody who can continue the work Kill has done.

"We want to move as expeditiously as possible, but we want to be sure we have the right person to be here," Compher said. "This is a transition where we're handing over one of the best teams in the country to the next coaching staff and I want to be sure we get the next coaching staff in here to continue the success we've had under Coach Kill. It's not a question of rebuilding. It's a question of continuing and maintaining."

Compher said he already has candidates in mind but declined to disclose their names. He will work with the university and athletic administration throughout the hiring process.