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Northern Colorado hires Nebraska assistant Downing

GREELEY, Colo. -- Northern Colorado hired Nebraska assistant
Scott Downing as its head coach Tuesday.

Downing, 49, had coached tight ends and kickers at Nebraska
since 2002 after arriving from Purdue, following his second
six-year stint with coach Joe Tiller. He also worked with Tiller at
Wyoming.

Coach O. Kay Dalton was fired Dec. 2 after six seasons at
Northern Colorado, where he compiled a 38-31 record, including 4-7
this season. Northern Colorado was 0-5 in the Great West
Conference.

Downing said he saw potential and opportunity at UNC, which
joins the Big Sky Conference next summer and will play Big Sky
schools next season.

"When I thought of Northern Colorado, I felt it was a sleeping
giant in the world of [Division] I-AA," he said. "Being the only
I-AA program in Colorado competing in football also made it
attractive."

Downing stands to receive a $90,000, one-year salary. Incentives
increase the deal to more than six figures.

"We look forward to the challenge and opportunity to work with
everybody on campus to put the program in a position not only to be
competitive in the Big Sky Conference, but on a national basis in
the future," Downing said.

Downing was an assistant coach at Sterling College in Kansas in
1980 and 1981 and head coach in 1982 and 1983.

"Coach Downing has the ability to chance the perception and
change the culture here at Northern Colorado," said athletics
director Jay Hinrichs. "He will build with upperclassmen, bring in
great recruiting classes and definitely outwork the competition."

Downing was with the Nebraska football team, which was preparing
to play Michigan Wednesday in the Alamo Bowl in San Antonio. He
said he would meet with current UNC coaches and begin assembling a
staff when he arrived in Greeley next week.