These days in DeKalb, Northern Illinois University running back Marcus Jones can’t go far without being reminded he’s working under someone who’s kind of a big deal.
“I hear it all the time – how crazy it is that Jordan Lynch is our position coach,” Jones told NBC 5’s Mike Berman. “I tell them I’m excited, I’m ready to rock and roll.”
Just five years ago, former quarterback Jordan Lynch led the Huskies to the Orange Bowl. Four years ago, he was a finalist for the Heisman Trophy.
Now, after a short professional career in Canada, the Chicago native is hoping to get his alma mater back in the national spotlight as a coach.
“When I first got offered this job, I had to take a few weeks and think about it, because after I got done in the CFL with our season, I planned on going back the next year,” Lynch said. “But when an opportunity like this hits you in the face, you have to take it.”
When Rod Carey needed to find a running backs coach during the off-season, he quickly thought of his former quarterback. Carey could have called any number of guys with long resumes, but Lynch offered something the others didn’t. [[417210013, C]]
“Jordan Lynch can help us win as a coach. Otherwise, I wouldn’t have done it,” Carey said. “And it’s maybe not his knowledge at this point that’ll help us win … He will get that, and it’s coming every day very quickly like you’d expect for Jordan, but the intangibles. With the guys, on and off the field, and the attitude he brings every day on the field.”
In his first spring on the job, the 26-year-old is learning on the fly. One thing he’s quickly discovered? That it was a lot easier being a player.
“Now, I have to learn it, and recite it back to the players, so I really have to know my stuff,” Lynch said. “Playing, you can get away with getting lucky on the field, or you can go with the flow and athletic ability can take over. Now, my athletic ability can’t take over, so I need to know my stuff.”
Learning is made easier by the unique relationship Lynch shares with his boss.
“I lean on those guys pretty heavily,” Lynch said. “Getting into coaching, there’s a lot of stuff I still need to learn. So whenever I need help or I have a question or I need something to be answered, I lean on these guys for advice.”
Lynch played for Carey, as well as others on the Huskies staff, so when he has questions, he’s comfortable seeking answers.
“I have a great relationship with him,” Carey said. “It’s more than just a co-worker relationship because I coached him too.”
Despite only knowing them for a short time, Lynch’s relationship with his players is great too. At 26 years old, they can relate to him, which, he says, is both good and bad.
“They come at everything on me,” Lynch said. “They come at the hairline, they come at the shorts – my shorts come above the knees. It’s fun though, it keeps me young.”
Running back Marcus Jones was the first to admit he and his teammates enjoy giving Lynch a hard time.
“I always kid with him about how in the next two years, he’s going to be bald, so he needs to live it up right now,” Jones said.
Lynch never envisioned his playing career ending as quickly as it did, but he always knew his future was in coaching. It turns out that future started earlier than expected, but exactly where he had hoped to be.
“It’s really special, my best years as a football player were at NIU,” Lynch said. “For me to come back and give back to that, it means a lot.”