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BIG 2018 - Northwestern Coaches

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Pat Fitzgerald made some minor staff changes this offseason.

Northwestern v Nebraska Photo by Steven Branscombe/Getty Images

Northwestern, differing from all other Big Ten programs save Iowa has been notable for coaching staff continuity over the past ten years.

Think I’m kidding?

Former Indiana Head Coach (and Northwestern OC) Kevin Wilson hired NU Wide Receivers coach Kevin Johns in 2011 to be the Hoosier’s Offensive coordinator.

If you step back to 2008, Pat Fitzgerald fired Defensive Coordinator Greg “Swiss Cheese” Colby, and Garrick McGee resigned to coach the quarterbacks at Arkansas.

That’s it.

This year brings some new changes in Evanston.

The dean of the NU coaching staff, Defensive Backs coach Jerry Brown retires after 25 years.

Jerry Brown was on Gary Barnett’s original staff, and also had a two year stint as defensive coordinator under Randy Walker.

He’s also an excellent dancer:

I’ve been critical of Coach Brown in the past (to the point of calling for his firing) for the poor performance of his players over the years, but things have been going much better lately as the talent and W/L records have increased. Enjoy your well-earned retirement, coach!

Jerry Brown will be replaced by longtime NU RB Coach Matt MacPherson. It remains to be seen if McPherson can coach the defensive backs as well as the running backs.

Matt MacPherson also takes over whatever the associate head coach responsibilities entail from Jerry Brown.

Special Teams will now be coached by Barnett-era coach Jeff Genyk. Welcome home Jeff!

The running backs will now be coached by Randy Walker-era former player Lou Ayeni.

Ayeni returns to Evanston after coaching the running backs at Iowa State for a few years. Welcome home Lou, and thank god you escaped Ames!

Ayeni will also take over recruiting.

Linebackers coach Randy Bates resigned to join Pat Narduzzi’s staff at Pitt, so Pat Fitzgerald hired one of the most decorated linebackers in school history: Tim McGarigle.

Purdue Boilermakers v Northwestern Wildcats
A remorseless and relentless tackling machine prepares to destroy future neckbeard and crappy booze aficionado Kyle Orton.
Photo by Jonathan Daniel/ Getty Images

McGarigle, a 2006 graduate who holds an NCAA-record 545 tackles as a player, returns home after coaching for the Green Bay Packers (yuck) doing defensive quality control in 2017, coaching the linebackers for Lovie Smith in Illinois (that’s just wrong), and several seasons at Western Michigan University. Welcome home Tim!

Other than these changes, we still have Adam Cushing and Marty Long coaching the lines, Mick McCall and Mike Hankwitz coordinating their respective sides of the ball and Dennis Springer coaching wide receivers.

One of the downsides of being a fan of a team with long tenured coaches is you praise the coaches when their charges are doing well and want them fired after a bad performance. I was incredulous Adam Cushing still had a job after the Illinois State loss a few years back, and was furious at McCall for trying to run a power offense (and don’t get me started on the speed options) when our personnel wasn’t ready for it.

We’ll just have to wait and see how the coaches direct the players this year. I can’t wait for football to start. GO CATS!