Hammock makes first hire to coaching staff

On his fourth day as Northern Illinois’ head coach, Thomas Hammock, per reports, has made his first important hire to building a coaching staff on Tuesday. Eric Eidsness has helped put together strong offenses at South Dakota State (FCS) and is widely reported as the guy to be the new offensive coordinator for the Huskies. Per Kaleb Carter at the DeKalb Daily-Chronicle:

A source familiar with the situation confirmed that South Dakota State offensive coordinator Eric Eidsness is “close” to becoming the next offensive coordinator of the Northern Illinois University football team.

Eidsness will replace outgoing Mike Uremovich, who was officially announced as Temple University’s offensive coordinator Tuesday. Uremovich made a $175,000 base salary in 2018.

NIU officials would not confirm or deny the hiring.

Eidsness served as the associate head coach, offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach for the Football Championship Subdivision Jackrabbits. The team went 10-3 and lost Dec. 14 in the semifinals to North Dakota State. Eidsness has been on the SDSU staff since the 2011 season.

In the 2018 season, South Dakota State under Eidsness was 10th in the FCS in total offense at 480.5 yards a game.

While Eidsness was in charge of calling the Jackrabbit offense for the better part of the last seven years, his assigned recruiting areas were in North Dakota, South Dakota (his home state) and western Minnesota. Taryn Christion, whose legacy is already recognized as the best quarterback in program history just after finishing his final game with the team last month, is from the same hometown as Eidsness — Sioux Falls.

Since I’m late to the party and we’re already here: NIU has a new head coach!

Hammock, 37, comes back to DeKalb and was officially announced as the Huskies’ head coach on Friday. Hammock had 1,000-yard seasons for NIU in 2000 and 2001 as a sophomore and junior (was a First Team All-MAC recipient both years, too), then a heart condition limited him to playing on just one game his senior year and ending his playing career.

Since then, Hammock has always wanted to be in coaching, and the big narrative around this hire is that being NIU’s head coach was Hammock’s dream scenario. Before this, he was a running backs coach with the Baltimore Ravens, helped coach running backs at NIU, Wisconsin and Minnesota. Namely, Hammock has helped coach Garrett Wolfe, Montee Ball and Melvin Gordon into All-American college running backs.

Two early takeaways of this hire: 1. it’s hard not to love the guy, say everybody; 2. Hammock really does LOVE his alma mater.

Thomas Hammock pledged years ago to return to Northern Illinois.

He was Wisconsin’s running backs coach when he met Sean Frazier, the Badgers deputy athletic director at the time. Hammock, a former NIU running back from 1999 to 2002, told Frazier: “You know what? I’m going to be the head coach at Northern Illinois University.”

Eight years later Frazier, now NIU’s athletic director, helped Hammock make good on that goal.

Hammock, 37, returned to his alma mater Friday, when he was introduced as the replacement for Rod Carey, who left NIU a week earlier to coach Temple. Hammock spent the previous five seasons in the NFL as the Ravens running back coach after assistant coaching stops at NIU (2005-06), Minnesota (2007-10) and Wisconsin (2011-13).

“This program means a lot to me,” Hammock said. “I’m going to give it everything I have.” (Chicago Tribune)

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