Novak ushered in winning era of Huskie football
Culture change in DeKalb
In the mid-1990s, the idea of Northern Illinois participating in a prestigious game such as the Orange Bowl was unthinkable.
When Joe Novak took over the program in 1996, the school had just finished a string of five consecutive losing seasons under Charlie Sadler.
Novak had worked as an NIU assistant from 1980-83. To him, there was always potential in DeKalb, with a prime recruiting area in Chicagoland. He just needed to change the culture.
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