DeKALB – Northern Illinois is without an interim coach for the Dec. 18 uDrove Humanitarian Bowl against Fresno State.
That's a question NIU athletic director Jeff Compher hopes to answer today.
"I'm hoping to tie that up that relatively soon, haven't been able to do that yet, should be able to meet with our assistants sometime early [today] and hope to have it wrapped up soon thereafter," Compher said during Monday's bowl teleconference.
While Jerry Kill was introduced as Minnesota's newest head coach on Monday, Compher was out on the road pulling double duty of promoting NIU's bowl appearance and beginning his search for a new head coach.
His first order of business will be finding which assistant coach will lead the Huskies (10-3), who are off this week from team activities because of finals, against the Bulldogs (8-4) in Boise, Idaho as NIU's interim coach. How many exactly will stay in DeKalb, though, is still up the air. Compher said he wants the assistants to stay and coach the bowl.
"They've earned that opportunity and we would love for them to stay and be a part of that," he said. "But, I guess they're going to have to make those decisions as the opportunities present themselves. Hopefully there will be an opportunity for most if not all of our assistants to stay and guide us through this great bowl experience."
As for a permanent replacement, Compher reiterated that he doesn't have a specific timeframe for a hire and a new coach before the bowl was possible, but not optimistically so.
"I'm just not sure that it'll come together that quickly," he said.
Humanitarian Bowl executive director Kevin McDonald said there will be a $450,000 payout for both teams and tickets won't come out of that payout.
Compher said it would be conceivable but certainly not his intention for NIU to go to Boise without a full staff minus the head coach. Kill will not coach the bowl game for the Huskies and Compher believed it was "probably Minnesota's decision to do that" because of the importance placed upon recruiting. The Gophers have been without a permanent head coach since firing Tim Brewster on Oct. 17.
In Minnesota, Kill was asked at his introductory news conference about how many of his NIU staff were coming with him.
"I think if you look at programs that turn around, you have to keep and staff and they have to be loyal," Kill said. "You can't have people going in and out. I've got to know that they're going to be committed and I get a pretty good feel for that. That's why those guys have been with me for so long.
"Plus, I'm encouraging Northern Illinois to hire one of those guys as the head coach. So I've got pride in that. Every program I've left, they kept winning and I'd like to see them do that."
Kill did not elaborate on which member of his staff he was encouraging NIU to hire as its head coach.
Compher was asked Monday about potential candidates such as former NIU wide receivers coach and current Rutgers wide receivers coach P.J. Fleck and Syracuse defensive coordinator Scott Shafer and said he wasn't really commenting on potential candidates at this point.