Badgers’ Doeren movin’ up
University of Wisconsin defensive coordinator Dave
Doeren was introduced as the school’s 21st head coach on Monday, just eight days after former coach Jerry Kill departed for Minnesota.
“I’m very fortunate to be walking into a place that has the pride and the success and the facilities and the expectations and the academic integrity that this university has,” Doeren said. “I know (former coach Joe) Novak and coach Kill, and I know what they stand for.
“I’m very, very proud to stand on what they’ve created. I’m not walking into a rebuilding job.”
In fact, among those returning next season from a 10-3 team will be Elkhorn High School graduate Scott Wedige, a 6-4, 309-pound center, who has just been named to the All-Mid-American Conference first team as a junior.
The 39-year-old Doeren has been a Wisconsin assistant since 2006. He is in his second season as defensive coordinator and will coach the Big Ten co-champion Badgers against Texas Christian in the Rose Bowl on New Year’s Day.
“I felt like I was part of a five-year process to get them to that point, and I want to finish that journey,” he said. “I also feel like it’s great publicity for this university and for our recruiting efforts to have a Rose Bowl coach on national television.”
Northern Illinois is preparing for the Humanitarian Bowl on Saturday in Boise, Idaho, against Fresno State (8-4). Linebackers coach Tom Matukewicz is serving as interim head coach for that game.
A Kansas native, Doeren was a four-year letter winner and academic All-American at Drake. He later coached linebackers and served as Drake defensive coordinator from 1995-97. He then spent two years at Southern California as a graduate assistant before moving to Montana as secondary/recruiting coordinator for a team that made back-to-back FCS national championship game appearances.
From 2002-04, he was Kansas’ linebackers coach and recruiting coordinator and was named Jayhawks co-defensive coordinator in 2005. He came to Wisconsin the next year and left his mark on the Badger program.
“Northern Illinois is getting not only a great coach, but a great family with Dave’s wife, Sara, and their three boys,” Bielema said. “Dave was one of my first hires at Wisconsin and he has been one of the major reasons we have had success.”
This year, Wisconsin was ranked 22nd nationally and third in the Big Ten in total defense. In 2009, Doeren’s unit was 17th in the nation, giving up 305.7 yards per game.
“Dave has given us five great years of service and has represented Wisconsin football very well in our community and across the country. It was only a matter of time before he became a head coach, and I wish him all the best in every game next year, but one.”
Doeren will coach against his former team when Northern Illinois hosts Wisconsin on Sept. 17, 2011, at Chicago’s Soldier Field.
The appointment of Doeren came quickly after Kill announced on Dec. 3 that he was taking over the Golden Gophers at Minnesota.
“Eight days ago we also began the process of trying to find our next head coach,” Northern Illinois athletic director Jeff Compher said. “The process has been swift, thorough, time consuming, invigorating and very rewarding.
“I knew he wanted the job because yesterday he spent two hours digging himself out of his driveway,” Compher said. “Then he drove two hours through a blizzard to get here.”
And that’s typical of Doeren’s commitment, Wisconsin athletic director and former head coach Barry Alvarez said.
“He’s a young, energetic and knowledgeable football coach,’’ Alvarez said. “He’s done a tremendous job with our defense here the past five years, and he’ll do a good job for Northern Illinois.”