The 2013 Mid-American Conference football awards were recently announced, and NIU head man, Rod Carey, was named MAC Coach of the Year. This helped NIU take home three of the final season awards as Rod’s quarterback, Jordan Lynch, took home two awards as well.
With the award, Carey becomes the third coach in NIU history to win the award. Bill Mallory (Rod Carey’s college head coach) and Joe Novak were the other previous winners. Carey led the Huskies to a perfect regular season record at 12-0, his team has the best offense in the MAC and is top 10 nationally in scoring and rushing, and the Huskie defense is the third best scoring defense in the conference. His team had 10 all-conference selections and the conference MVP. In his first year at the helm, he guided NIU to two wins over BigTen foes, seven road wins, and perfect conference and regular season records.
He also has broken the streak of this award being given to coaches that turned their program’s around as Darrell Hazell, Ron English, Mike Haywood, and Al Golden all led their teams to better than normal seasons. As a first year head coach, this is quite the impressive feat. If it weren’t for David Cutcliffe and Gus Malzahn, I think you would hear quite a bit of chatter for Carey as a national coach of the year candidate.
It’s not too often a coach runs the regular season table in his first year as a head coach. This award also shows the respect Carey and his staff have from the other conference coaches as Carey has done an excellent job at in game adjustments and getting the Huskies prepared for each week. Carey is notorious for taking it one game at a time and not focusing on big picture ideas. If you've ever seen him in a press conference or seen his lastest action, he's all about one-week seasons and winning every game. Many people thought Carey wouldn’t receive the award as he inherited the two-time defending MAC champs and a loaded roster. However, even with that, nothing is given to you as a team. Other candidates up for the award were Jeff Quinn of Buffalo, Dave Clawson of Bowling Green, and Pete Lembo of Ball State.