Football team hires multiple coaches

Brice Burge

The Northern Michigan University football program has four new coaches to help the team improve on last year’s 6-4 record.

The team was left looking for new staff after offensive coordinator/line coach Jeff Duvendeck and quarterback/wide receiver coach Dan Mettlach resigned.Both coaches had been with the program since head coach Bernie Anderson took over in 2007.

Chris Ostrowsky will be taking the helm of the offense. The former quarterbacks coach and recruiting director for the now-defunct Northeastern University football program will also work with the quarterbacks.

“The transition has been real easy, the staff’s been great, the players have really bought into the system and it has been as smooth as could be expected,” Ostrowsky said.

Ostrowsky’s influence on the NMU team will be seen immediately through a new offensive strategy: a multiple spread offense that focuses more on the passing game than the rushing attack.

“(The new offense) is a system that is fun to play in and they want to be a part of. We will hopefully be fast and score a lot of points,” Ostrowsky said.

Ostrowsky will have help on the offense from new wide receivers coach Marty Higgins. Higgins held the same position at Western Michigan from 1987-90 and Eastern Illinois from 1985-87. The former South Dakota State quarterback left coaching after the 1990 season when his first child was born, and opened up his own business.

“I’ve been out of coaching for a while,” Higgins said. “My son is now a senior and our business was bought out, so my wife suggested that since I like coaching that maybe I should get back into it. It was the first time she had to tell me only once to do something.”

Higgins will work well in Ostrowsky’s offensive gameplan as the Broncos and the Panthers both ran one tailback offenses like Northern will run.

“Coach Ostrowsky’s schemes are a perfect fit for what I’ve been in. You spread (the players) out,  and you take advantage of what the defense is going to give you,” Higgins said.

The last new piece of the Wildcats’ offense is not that new. Former offensive and defensive lineman Rob Boss will coach the offensive line. Boss was a student assistant coach last year.

“Last year, I was finishing up my degree, and to come back and really spend all my time on coaching was something I was looking forward to,” Boss said. “It gives you a lot of opportunity to work with the kids and not have to put your effort somewhere else.”

Boss missed coaching spring football practices with the Wildcats because he was playing in games his own. Boss played for the Chicago Rush of the Arena Football League as an offensive and defensive lineman. He was the 2007 co-rookie of the year for the club, but gave up playing to coach for the ’Cats.

“To me when I sat down and looked at it, I could coach a lot longer than I could play,” Boss said. “As much fun as playing was in Chicago, my future plans were to coach and to come back to my alma mater and start my coaching career is a great opportunity.”

The last addition to the coaching staff is on the defensive side of the ball, as Mark Paun will be the new defensive line coach. Paun recorded 34 tackles in his four-year career for  the University of Miami (OH) Redhawks.

“The biggest adjustment was how to handle myself in a meeting, it’s a little different drawing things up on the board and teaching guys what to do than being the one trying to learn. It’s learning how to teach rather than learning from the teaching.”

The four new Wildcat coaches will make their debuts in the first game of the year at Minnesota State- Mankato on Thursday, Sept. 2 at 7 p.m.

The Wildcats will compete against the University of Findlay Oilers in their home opener on Saturday, Sept. 11, at 2 p.m.