The first time NIU football coach Dave Doeren met Mark Montgomery was the day he was hired last week. Doeren also had a chance to speak with Montgomery during his public introduction as the Huskies' next men's basketball coach Monday afternoon at the Convocation Center.
Both times, Doeren said, he left with a positive impression of his new co-worker.
"When you're in Big Ten basketball, especially at a place where he was, they've played in big-time games," Doeren said. "Those are all big-time recruits, and he knows how to compete to get them. It's a huge lift for the university. He's not going to be scared of anything."
Montgomery comes from a Michigan State program that has a notoriously good relationship with the football team. When I asked Spartans coach Tom Izzo last week what were some of the priorities Montgomery should make, one of the first things he said was to establish a good relationship with the Huskies' football team. Izzo said that's particularly important at a "football school" like NIU.
Doeren said he's looking forward to having a good working relationship with Montgomery.
“Chemistry in your athletics department is an enormous deal,” Doeren said. “Any time your athletes are all on the same page, working toward the same goals, it helps.”
Doeren, who was hired in December, and Montgomery are both first-time coaches. Doeren said that's not the only thing the two have in common.
“I loved his enthusiasm, energy and excitement that he has for being part of NIU," Doeren said. "He’s a (hard) worker like I am, so we’re going to get along real well.”
– Ryan Wood, firstname.lastname@example.org