MARQUETTE — This past season, the Northern Michigan football team closed out the year on a six–game losing streak. Seeing this, Athletic Director Forrest Karr decided enough was enough and he did not renew the contract of head coach Chris Ostrowsky.
“There were a lot of things for us to point to and be positive about and as a university, take pride in. But the results on the field over the last seven years or so just haven’t been there, and we’re trying to everything we can to get that last piece which is to have success on the field as well,” Karr said.
And so the national search for a new head coach began, with the help of a search committee led by former NMU All–American football player and former NFL head coach Steve Mariucci.
“I think he played a really valuable role and was good. He gave us a lot of guidance and obviously with his experience, any amount of help we could get was appreciated, and he went way above and beyond, so that was a great part of the search,” said Karr.
36 days later, the Wildcats picked Ferris State co–defensive coordinator Kyle Nystrom as their 22nd head coach ever. Nystrom has almost 30 years of coaching experience, and everywhere he’s been, the winning mentality has followed.
“You can look at that say, “Well, maybe it’s the luck of the draw” or it’s where he’s been and he’s been at successful programs under successful head coaches. But I think when it gets to that point where everywhere you go, the defenses are doing well and the teams are successful, I think he was certainly part of that,” Karr said.
One of the biggest responsibilities for a college head coach is recruiting players, and Karr says that Nystrom has the exact kind of experience they are looking for.
“He’s been recruiting the state of Michigan, in particular, for three different universities, back when he worked at Western Michigan, when he worked at Central Michigan and now working at Ferris State. He certainly knows the landscape of our primary recruiting market which is Michigan, Wisconsin and the U.P.,” said Karr.
With other team sports at NMU struggling for success, Karr hopes that this hire will galvanize the community and the athletic department as well.
“I think that starts with us on campus and really give Kyle and his assistant coaches the support to be successful. Any help that alums, community members and businesses can give is always appreciated. And we get a lot of support, so it’s really up to us now to make that next step and do a little better on the field. Hopefully that will just continue to generate even more,” Karr said.
Nystrom will be formally introduced at a press conference on January 6th.