2019 - Thomas Hammock – Head coach of Northern Illinois Huskies

Thomas Hammock was named the head coach of the Northern Illinois Huskies football team in January 2019. Hammock, a former running back for the Huskies, returned to his alma mater after spending several years coaching in the National Football League (NFL).

In his first season as head coach, Hammock led the Huskies to a 5-7 record, which included wins over Illinois State and Ball State. The team showed improvement under Hammock’s leadership, and there was optimism heading into the 2020 season.

However, the 2020 season was disrupted by the COVID-19 pandemic, and the Huskies played just four games, finishing with a record of 0-4.

The 2021 season got off to a rough start for the Huskies, as they lost their first three games, including a close 22-21 loss to the Wyoming Cowboys. However, the team rebounded and won their next six games, including a 38-31 victory over the Kent State Golden Flashes in the MAC Championship Game.

The win gave the Huskies their first MAC championship since 2018 and secured a spot in the Guaranteed Rate Bowl, where they faced the Coastal Carolina Chanticleers. Despite a strong effort, the Huskies lost the game by a score of 47-41.

Hammock’s leadership and coaching were critical to the Huskies’ success in 2021, and he was named the MAC Coach of the Year for his efforts. The team’s improvement under his leadership has generated excitement and optimism for the future of the program.