Hammock was a graduate assistant at Wisconsin coaching under Barry Alvarez when Kent State head coach Sean Lewis played there.
Lewis said NIU knows exactly what it’s getting with Hammock.
“A guy who’s passionate about the game, a guy who cares about the young men that are underneath him and a guy with an infectious personality that you like to be around,” Lewis said.
Ball State coach Mike Neu, entering his fourth year with the program, knows the experience of being a head coach taking the reins at the school they attended.
“You’ve been following your program ever since your playing days ended, and you’re 100% invested, so now when you’re back in the position of being a head coach, and you’re an alum, it just adds to it,” Neu said. “You put a little bit more pressure on yourself, obviously, and your expectation level, you take losses hard.
“Every loss is hard, but it’s that much more when you’re an alum, but that’s our first MAC game [this year]. We go to DeKalb, obviously facing the MAC champions. So there’s a chance. Obviously Rod [Carey] and his staff did a great job and moved on to Temple, but Coach Hammock has obviously done a great job with recruiting. I know those guys will be ready to play, and it’ll be a slugfest.”
Buffalo head coach Lance Leipold employed new NIU offensive line coach Daryl Agpalsa for the last four seasons at Buffalo and in the previous two seasons when Leipold was head coach at Division III Wisconsin-Whitewater.
“Daryl is an excellent person and family man, outstanding teacher and communicator of what his expectations are and very even-keeled and not what people sometimes think of an offensive line coach,” Leipold said. “Daryl being from Hawaii, he’s a pretty laid-back dude sometimes, but that doesn’t mean he’s not passionate [and] caring. And those are probably the best things that I would say about his consistency and his teaching ways.”
The Huskies, winners of seven of the past nine MAC West titles, were chosen to finish third in the MAC West this year by the media, receiving only one vote to win the overall conference title.