Northern Illinois offensive coordinator Mike Dunbar's duties have been reassigned so he can continue an ongoing battle with cancer, NIU announced Monday.
Dunbar received the diagnosis not long after coming to NIU in February. He underwent aggressive treatment during the spring and anticipated being fully recovered for the 2012 season. Because of the latest medical update, Dunbar and NIU head coach Dave Doeren decided it was best for Dunbar to make health his top priority.
“Football was never a part of our conversation, this is about Mike Dunbar and what is best for his health,” Doeren said in a news release. “I want his focus and attention to be on battling cancer, not on scoring points. He is a special member of our staff and every ounce of his energy needs to go toward winning this battle right now. Mike is a great man, a good father and an upper echelon coach. We will do everything we can to support him.”
Offensive line coach/run-game coordinator Rod Carey will take over offensive coordinator duties while continuing to coach the offensive line. Tight ends/fullbacks coach Joe Tripodi has been elevated to full-time assistant coach and will take on recruiting responsibilities.
Carey served as the offensive coordinator at the University of Wisconsin-Stout from 2000-06.
Dunbar was in his first season as the Huskies' offensive coordinator. He took over for Matt Canada, who spent one season in DeKalb before taking the offensive coordinator position at Wisconsin.
Dunbar, a 35-year coaching veteran, most recently served as the offensive coordinator at New Mexico in 2010 before heading to NIU.
“I am so appreciative of Dave Doeren and Jeff Compher, and the support I have received from the NIU Football Family, from the athletic department and from the administration,” Dunbar said in a news release. “Everyone at NIU has been terrific. Right now, this is a personal battle and my family and I, along with my medical team, are going to take it on.”
Doeren will speak about the matter at NIU's 12:15 p.m. news conference on Tuesday.