Posted-February 6th, 2012 2:59 pm
MADISON, Wis. -- Wisconsin head coach Bret Bielema completed his coaching staff on Monday, announcing that Eddie Faulkner has been hired to coach the Badgers’ tight ends. Faulkner was a running back at UW from 1996-2000 and spent last season as the running backs coach and special teams coordinator at Northern Illinois, working with current Wisconsin offensive coordinator Matt Canada.
“I’m excited to be able to bring Eddie back to Madison,” Bielema said. “It’s always special to be able to hire a former letterwinner. In addition to coaching our tight ends, Eddie brings great experience coaching special teams and has tremendous talents as a recruiter. He’s obviously worked with Matt and he is highly-respected among the coaches on our staff.”
Faulkner, who was briefly a member of Pitt’s coaching staff before joining the Badgers, helped Northern Illinois to an 11-3 record, the Mid-American Conference (MAC) championship and a GoDaddy.com Bowl victory last year.
“I’m very excited about the chance to come back to Madison and coach,” Faulkner said. “Being an alum and coming back to the university I graduated from, I think that’s an opportunity most coaches look for. I want to thank Coach Bielema for this chance. I worked for Matt Canada last year at Northern Illinois and he is a great coach and someone I really respect. I can’t begin to say how excited I am about coming back and I’m looking forward to getting to work.”
As running backs coach at NIU, Faulkner produced All-MAC tailback Jasmin Hopkins, who rushed for 956 yards and 15 touchdowns on 187 carries (5.1 avg.). NIU boasted the nation’s No. 12 rushing attack with an average of 234.14 yards per game.
Overseeing NIU’s special teams, Faulkner’s punt coverage unit ranked second nationally, yielding just one yard per return. Huskies placekicker Mathew Sims was a first-team All-MAC performer while compiling a school-record 124 points (20-28 field goals, 64-66 PATs).
Prior to NIU, Faulkner spent eight seasons at Ball State (2003-10). Initially joining Brady Hoke’s BSU staff as a graduate assistant in 2003, Faulkner elevated to running backs and special teams coach before serving as the Cardinals’ offensive coordinator his final two years. He was Ball State’s interim head coach at the end of the 2010 season before his departure to NIU.
During his Ball State tenure, the Cardinals captured two MAC West Division championships and advanced to back-to-back bowl games for the first time in school history. The 2008 team went undefeated during the regular season as tailback MiQuale Lewis rushed for a Ball State record 1,736 yards.
Faulkner was a member of two Big Ten championship teams as a running back at Wisconsin. He rushed for 1,064 yards in his career and seven touchdowns. He had three 100-yard rushing games, including 119 in a win over No. 14 Iowa in 1997 as a redshirt freshman. After graduating from UW, Faulkner signed a free agent contract with the Pittsburgh Steelers in 2001 before going on to a pro career with the Edmonton Eskimos of the Canadian Football League.