Heisman Trophy finalist and Huskie great Jordan Lynch has joined the Northern Illinois University Football coaching staff, NIU head coach Rod Carey has announced.
Lynch, who finished third in 2013 Heisman Trophy voting, the highest finish by a player from the Mid-American Conference, will coach the Huskie running backs.
“Obviously, with Jordan, the name speaks for itself,” Carey said. “Heisman Trophy finalist, got us to the Orange Bowl, got us to the cusp of a Fiesta Bowl, and set all sorts of records. He’s probably one of the most beloved players that have come through here in recent history. When you are talking about the greats of Huskie Football, our tradition, you can’t do that without saying the name Jordan Lynch.”
While working with Lynch during his tenure at NIU, Carey didn’t necessarily see the All-American as a coach. Now, with the passage of time, he looks back on coaching Lynch and one thing stands out.
“I only had to tell Jordan something once,” Carey said. “When we were putting in a new play, or a new scheme, or developing the game plan and I was going over it with him, it was once and he got it. If he was wrong, you corrected him once and it was done. That was his gift and that ability to have what I call, ‘the one-effect,’ that makes a great coach.”
The former Huskie quarterback returns to NIU after a two-year career with the Edmonton Eskimos of the Canadian Football League. Lynch threw for 48 yards and a touchdown on 6-of-9 passing, while rushing for 228 yards and five touchdowns on 53 carries in 36 games with the Eskimos.
In the 2015 Grey Cup, he plunged in from one yard out on third and goal to score the game-winning touchdown. Lynch feels his two years in the CFL will serve him well as an assistant coach.
“I always knew when I got done playing football, I wanted to get into coaching,” Lynch said. “I just love being around the players and being back at NIU. When [Coach Carey] started talking to me about the possibility of a position opening up here, I took some time and thought about it. I felt it was a great opportunity for me and I couldn’t pass it up. Some of my best memories of playing football have been here at Northern. To come back and help get the program get back to where it was appealed to me.”
One of the most decorated football players in Huskie history, Lynch was a first-team All-America selection at the all-purpose position by the Associated Press, Phil Steele and Lindy’s and earned second-team honors from USA Today and CBSSports.com following a 2013 season where he led the Huskies to a 12-0 regular season.
He rushed for an NCAA QB-record 1,920 yards and 23 touchdowns, while throwing for 2,892 yards and 24 touchdowns on 253-of-404 passing.
The quarterback rushing mark is one of five NCAA records set by the Chicago native in 2013. He also set the single-game quarterback rushing mark – twice. On Oct. 19, he rushed for 316 yards against Central Michigan, then broke his own record with 321 yards on Nov. 26 against Western Michigan.
A two-time Vern Smith Leadership Award recipient, Lynch led NIU to victory in the 2012 MAC Championship Game in his first season as the starting quarterback. With NIU’s 44-37 overtime victory over Kent State, Lynch and the Huskies earned a berth to the 2013 Orange Bowl, the first MAC school to participate in a Bowl Championship Series Bowl.