MARQUETTE - Northern Michigan University's first-year head football coach Chris Ostrowsky continues to follow the blueprint he set forth when he was promoted from offensive coordinator to head coach on Dec. 1.
After signing 26 recruits at the beginning of February to National Letters of Intent, Ostrowsky announced 20 days into March that he had filled out his coaching staff with Brian Newberry taking over as defensive coordinator, Marcus Knight coaching the wide receivers and Joe Coniglio become the defensive line coach and athletic department's strength and conditioning coach.
"I'm excited about all three coaches," Ostrowsky said. "They were accomplished players at the Division I level and have become accomplished coaches. They will be a fantastic addition to an already great football staff."
While Newberry may have the most high profile position, it may be the new receiving catching the most buzz at the Superior Dome.
Knight was a member of Michigan's 1997 team that not only won the Big Ten and Rose Bowl, but the Associated Press National Championship. Nebraska won the coaches' poll national title.
Knight was a second-team All-Big Ten selection in 1999, averaging 20.4 yards per catch. He finished with 88 catches for 1,508 yard in 23 career games as a Wolverine before heading to the NFL.
Knight played for the Oakland Raiders from 2000-02 and was the starting kick returner for Oakland in the Super Bowl XXXVII loss to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, who Knight played for in 2004.
Knight, who joins NMU after four seasons as the receivers coach at Valparaiso, also spent time in NFL Europe and the Arena Football League.
"Marcus is as accomplished of player as there is on any level," said Ostrowsky. "Being a coach that has played in the Super Bowl and the National Championship, he knows what it takes to win. I've never connected with a coach like Marcus as I did in our first interview. He's going to bring a great skills set and fundamentals to our receivers."
Newberry, a former Baylor Bear defensive back, comes to NMU from NCAA Division III Sewanee in Tennessee where he was the defensive coordinator and linebackers coach this season.
Prior to Sewanee,
Newberry coached at NCAA Div. I Elon University in North Carolina, Div, III Washington and Lee University in Virginia, Div. I Lehigh University in Pennsylvania and Div. II Southern Arkansas.
Newberry replaces Randy Awrey, who resigned the night before Ostrowsky was announced as the next head coach at NMU.
"Brian and I have a long history together," Ostrowsky said. "He's as detailed and bright as anyone that I know, with the energy and the passion for the job. He's had great success at his previous schools. He was a great player at Baylor. Most importantly, he's a great man. I'm lucky to have someone I trust and feel good about running the defense."
Coniglio spent the last three seasons on the Kent State University - a Div. I school in the MAC - coaching staff working as a graduate assistant on the defensive side most recently.
Coniglio graduated from Miami University in 2009 after playing defensive end for the RedHawks from 2005-08.
"Joe is a young man who has a real impressive resume and comes highly recommended by every member of Kent State's coaching staff," Ostrowsky said. On the field he was an All-Mid-American Conference player for Miami University and was also a strength and conditioning All-American in college. He's bright, articulate, young and has done all the grunt work to earn his way to the next phase of his coaching career."
Along with Coniglio, Knight and Newberry, Ostrowsky retained four other assistants from Bernie Anderson's staff after it was announced Anderson's contract would not renewed.
Rob Erwin will move from receivers to quarterback coach, while Brian Mitz will remain as running backs coach, Rob Boss as offensive line coach and Joe Ballard as linebackers coach.
Northern opens the spring season on Monday with the spring game scheduled for 3 p.m. on April 21.