Nystrom names NMU football offensive coordinator

MARQUETTE — New Northern Michigan University head football coach Kyle Nystrom has named his offensive coordinator.

Marty Higgins will take that key assistant’s position, the school announced Monday.

“We’re excited to bring Marty back to Northern Michigan,” Nystrom said. “He brings a great deal of experience, having coached at the Division I and Division II levels. He and his wife, Val, will be a great addition to our campus and our community.”

Higgins spent the past two seasons as the offensive coordinator at Indiana University of Pennsylvania.

“Marty has had great success at IUP, and we’re fortunate to have a coach of his experience and his success to guide our offense.”

During his two years in Indiana, Pennsylvania, the Crimson Hawks went a combined 19-5, including 12-2 in the Pennsylvania State Athletics Conference, and twice reached the second round of the NCAA Division II playoffs.

In 2016, the Pennsylvania school led the PSAC in rushing yards per game with 279.8 and finished second in points per game with 46.3. The Crimson Hawks also led their league in rushing yards per game with 294.8 during his first season there.

Higgins mentored 12 All-PSCA West selections, including 2015 Freshman of the Year Lenny Williams.

Before joining the Indiana University of Pennsylvania staff, Higgins served as Upper Iowa’s offensive coordinator in 2013 and 2014. His offense helped the Peacocks secure their first back-to-back winning seasons since the 1960s.

In 2014, Upper Iowa averaged 34.5 points and 304.5 passing yards per game, the best totals in the Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference. Cole Jaeschke (304.5 passing yards/game), Chris Smith (127.1 rushing yards/game) and Derek Giesking (9.3 receptions/game) received All-NSIC recognition after leading the league in their respective statistical categories.

After spending 20 years in private business, Higgins returned to coaching at NMU. During his first stint on the Wildcat staff in 2010 and 2011, he coached the receivers and helped develop the spread offense. In 2012, he left Northern to work with the quarterbacks at Valley City State, North Dakota.

Higgins was on the Western Michigan University staff from 1987-90 as a receivers coach. During his three years in Kalamazoo, the Broncos led the Mid-American Conference in passing. In 1989 and 1990, Higgins worked with Nystrom, then a defensive graduate assistant.

From 1985-87, Higgins held the same position at Eastern Illinois, where he helped develop three All-Americans.

Higgins played football at South Dakota State from 1978-82. A two-year starter at quarterback, he became the first player in 20 years to lead the North Central Conference in total offense, passing and scoring.

Information compiled by Journal Sports Writer Steve Brownlee. His email address is sbrownlee@miningjournal.net.