Northern Illinois hires Youngstown State assistant coach Ross Watson

Sunday January 11th, 2015

Youngstown State defensive backs coach Ross Watson has accepted an assistant position at Northern Illinois according to a source.

The position Watson will coach for the Huskies has yet to be determined, but could be defensive backs or linebackers per the source. Former Northern Illinois linebackers coach Kevin Kane left for the same position at Kansas last month.

Watson, 31, spent this past season as Youngstown State’s director of football operations and had been promoted earlier this week to defensive backs coach under new Penguins coach Bo Pelini, who was hired last month. Watson is a knowledgeable secondary coach and provides Florida recruiting ties for Northern Illinois coach Rod Carey.

Before his stint at Youngstown State, Watson coached defensive backs for two seasons at Florida Atlantic. During his final season in 2013, the Owls were second in pass yards allowed in the FBS (161.5 yards per game) and third in team passing efficiency defense (97.41).

Watson was a defensive graduate assistant at Nebraska under Pelini from 2008-11. Prior to that, he coached defensive backs at his alma mater, Mount Union College, for two seasons.

The Youngstown, Ohio native played cornerback for the Purple Raiders from 2002-05. He joins a Northern Illinois program that won the MAC title this season and played in the conference’s championship game last year under Carey, who has a 23-6 record in just over two seasons.

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