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NIU football: Former Heisman finalist Lynch to join Huskies as running back coach

By DAILY CHRONICLE-sports@daily-chronicle.com
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Daily Chronicle In a Daily Chronicle file photo, Northern Illinois quarterback Jordan Lynch returns a newly autographed football to 11-year-old Cole Heinisch, a DeKalb resident and NIU fan just outside of the Convocation Center as the team returned to DeKalb from their trip to Miami for the Orange Bowl on Wednesday, Jan. 2, 2013.

A Northern Illinois football legend is coming home.

Former Heisman Trophy finalist Jordan Lynch was named the running back coach for the Huskies, the school announced on Wednesday.

Lynch finished third in the 2013 Heisman Trophy voting, the highest finish by a player in the Mid-American Conference and helped lead the Huskies to the Orange Bowl in 2013.

“Obviously, with Jordan, the name speaks for itself,” Northern Illinois coach Rod 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.”

Lynch spent the past two seasons in the Canadian Football League as a member of the Edmonton Eskimos. In the 2015 Grey Cup, Lynch scored the game-winning touchdown on a 1-yard run.

“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.”

Lynch certainly left his mark on the Huskies program as a player. He rushed for a quarterback-record 1,920 yards and 23 touchdowns and was named the first team All-American selection by three outlets – including the Associated Press.

“Anytime you can keep alumni around here to talk about the old days when they were here, and what’s different and what’s changed, I think it’s important,” Lynch said. “To those guys, this program means everything to them. No one cares more about this program than the guys that played here. To keep those guys around it’s awesome. It’s great to be back with those guys.”

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