Editor's Note: Leading up to the start of Northern Illinois spring football practice on March 22, the Daily Chronicle will be presenting readers with stories on each of the new assistant coaches. Also, be sure to pick up a copy of the Daily Chronicle to clip out our special card of each assistant.
NAME: Bob Cole
POSITION: Wide receivers coach
RECRUITING AREA: Florida panhandle, Chicago Catholic League liaison
DeKALB – Bob Cole enjoyed the extra time he had to spend with his family. He got to take his children to school in the mornings. He got to help coach his son's little league football team.
But everything else about last fall felt wrong.
"I was out of work last year, which was not fun," Cole said. "It was my first year ever outside of coaching. So it was rough.
"Spending more time with the family, doing things you never get to do when you're a coach, that was the upside. But I would've given anything to be back in the locker room, or out on the field, or in the office."
Cole had spent 22 straight falls on a football sideline. He wanted back into coaching. Northern Illinois coach Dave Doeren gave him the chance when he asked Cole to be the Huskies' wide receivers coach on Christmas.
"You're not going to get a better Christmas present than that," Cole said.
Since starting his coaching career in 1988, Cole has been an offensive coordinator at six different programs. He was most recently the quarterbacks coach at Western Kentucky in 2009.
NIU offensive coordinator Matt Canada said Cole's coordinating experience is a good resource for him.
"He's a guy with a lot of experience who you can lean on and bounce ideas off of," Canada said. "It's nice to have a guy like that on your staff."
Cole, 51, brings rare age to a young offensive staff. His colleague, tight end and fullbacks coach Kevin Kane, is in his first full-time coaching job at the Division I level.
Kane said he appreciates Cole's wisdom.
"Bob is the old grind-stoner," Kane said. "He's been around the block once or twice. He's always got something to say. He brings another edge to something, and (we'll say), 'Oh, let's think about this.' "
Cole is back in the coaching routine now, which includes early mornings, late nights and squeezing in family time whenever possible. But being out of football taught Cole something about the game he never fully realized before.
"Pretty much, you know, don't take it for granted," Cole said. "You always hear, if you're a coach you love coaching. You love going into work. It's never considered a job. And you really finally figure that out when you're not doing that, just what a great job it really is."