FanShot

Northern Illinois WR coach Thad Ward hired as Illinois RB coach

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Lovie Smith has poached the MAC for a key position coaching skill in the hiring of NIU's WR coach Thad Ward. Ward, himself a former wide receiver at UCF, is primarily known as a good recruiter in the state of Florida, a key recruiting pipeline. Ward was last a RB coach at Western Illinois from 2005-2010, with his backs having at least one 1,000 yard rusher every season in that stretch. Ward has been a coach at some level since 2002, specializing in offensive skill positions.