The Redbirds have advanced to the quarterfinals for the third time in school history.
The Redbirds and Sycamores will square off on CSN Chicago
Head coach Brock Spack and offensive coordinator Luke Huard will preview spring practice.
Luke Huard begins his fourth season with the Redbird coaching staff and his third as the offensive coordinator. Huard, who also oversees the Redbird quarterbacks, manages a Redbird offensive attack that has become one of the most threatening in the Missouri Valley Football Conference and the nation.
During the 2011 season, the Redbirds ranked second in the conference in total offense with 383 yards per game and had the second-best rushing offense in the Valley with over 183 yards per game on the ground. Under Huard's leadership, the Redbirds have posted two of the top-10 best offensive seasons at ISU and have three of the top four season-highs for team completion percentage.
In his first season as offensive coordinator in 2010, the Redbirds the ISU passing offense rank second in the Valley with an average of 258.4 yards per game and his group finished the season ranked 16th in the nation in passing offense. The Redbirds' 321 points scored were the seventh-most in school history and team's highest total since scoring 324 in 2007. It was just the 10 time in school history that ISU scored more than 300 points in a season.
Redbird quarterbacks also threw for 23 touchdown passes, the third-highest total in school history, and the team's 389 yards of total offense per game rank eighth on the ISU single-season list. Much of that was due to the elevation of wide receiver Tyrone Walker and Marvon Sanders, who combined for a school-record nine 100-plus yard receiving performances.
In his first season working with the Redbird quarterbacks in 2009, Huard helped orchestrate a passing attack that ranked first in the Valley with an average of 246.4 yards per game and No. 20 in the nation overall.
Illinois State's revamped offense set a new school single-season record with a 66.3 completion percentage and it ranks second in pass completions (272), fourth in passing yards per game (246.4), fifth in pass efficiency (128.4) and sixth in passing yards (2,710) on the ISU single-season charts.
Much of that success was due to Huard's development of Matt Brown, who became the starting quarterback after an injury to Drew Kiel in the season-opener at Eastern Illinois. Brown went on to set ISU freshman records for completions (226), attempts (352) and yards (2,369) while leading the league in passing yards per game (215.4), and was named the league's Freshman of the Year in addition to picking up second-team all-league honors.
In doing so, Brown became the third Redbird to be named the MVFC Freshman of the Year, along with quarterback Dusty Burk (1999) and safety Tom Nelson (2005).
Huard came to Illinois State following a two-year stint as a graduate assistant on the Huskies' coaching staff. While at Washington, Huard worked primarily with UW's quarterbacks. In 2007, he helped tutor Pac-10 Conference Newcomer of the Year Jake Locker.
Huard began his coaching career as the offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach at Tacoma's Washington High School following graduation from North Carolina in 2002. He then spent four seasons as the head coach at Interlake High School (Wash.), where he led the program to its first winning season in 10 years in 2004.
He also spent the 2004 season as offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach for the Eastside Hawks, a semi-professional football team that went 10-0 and won the Northwest Football League title.
Huard was a three-year member of the North Carolina football team, where he was a quarterback under former Tar Heel head coach Carl Torbush. Huard played in seven games for UNC and started four as a freshman in 1999.
Huard comes from a family full of college and professional football stars. Both of his older brothers, Brock and Damon, were standout quarterbacks at Washington and went on to play professionally in the NFL. Huard's father, Mike, coached all three at Puyallup High School (Wash.), and also coached former NFL quarterback Bill Joe Hobart.
As a high school quarterback at Puyallup High School, Huard was the Gatorade Washington Player of the Year as a senior and twice earned conference player of the year honors. He was an all-state selection and an honorable mention All-America selection. As a senior, he led Puyallup to a 12-1 record and the state 4-A semifinals while throwing for 2,650 yards and 39 touchdowns.
Huard and his wife, Dolly, reside in Normal.