NIU's offensive coordinator fighting health issues - Dallas News | myFOXdfw.com

NIU's offensive coordinator fighting health issues

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DeKalb, Ill. – Northern Illinois offensive coordinator Mike Dunbar's duties have been reassigned so that he can continue an ongoing battle with cancer, NIU Head Coach Dave Doeren announced Monday. 

 Dunbar, a veteran collegiate coach who is in his first year with the Huskies, received the original diagnosis shortly after his arrival at NIU in February, Doeren said.  He went through an aggressive treatment in the spring and recovered through the summer with the anticipation of being fully recovered for the 2012 season.  However, following his latest medical update, Doeren and Dunbar determined that Dunbar needs to make his health his No. 1 priority going forward. 

  "Football was never a part of our conversation, this is about Mike Dunbar and what is best for his health," Doeren said.  "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."

 "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.  "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 said that Dunbar's duties will be divided between NIU offensive line coach and run-game coordinator Rod Carey and fullbacks/tight ends coach Joe Tripodi.  Carey will serve as the Huskies' offensive coordinator while continuing to coach the offensive line, while Tripodi will be elevated to a full-time assistant coach and take on recruiting responsibilities.   Carey is in his second season at Northern Illinois; Tripodi is in his third season with the Huskie program.

 "We've been dealing with this situation since March, so our staff is well-prepared," Doeren said. "We have three former offensive coordinators on our offensive staff in Rod Carey, Bob Cole and Mike Uremovich and I have total confidence in their ability to lead our offense this season."

 Northern Illinois (0-1) takes on UT Martin (1-0) Saturday at 6 p.m. (CT) at Huskie Stadium.

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