GRAND FORKS, N.D. (UND Athletics) – University of North Dakota head football coach Bubba Schweigert announced Wednesday that former Northern Illinois standout and Iowa offensive assistant Joe Pawlak has been named offensive line coach for the Fighting Hawks.
“We are very excited that Coach Pawlak will be joining our staff,” stated Schweigert. “He is passionate about the game of football and especially passionate about offensive line play. He has been a part of two successful FBS programs and been mentored by coaches that develop some of the best offensive linemen in the entire country.”
Prior to coming to North Dakota, Pawlak has spent the previous three seasons as a graduate assistant with the Iowa football program where he assists with the Hawkeye offense. While in Iowa City, Pawlak helped the Hawkeyes win a combined 28 games over three seasons, matching the third-best total in school history over any three-year period. He helped coach the offensive line to a 1,000-yard rusher in each of his three seasons, including a pair of backs who crossed over the 1,000-yard plateau in 2016 for the first time in school history. The Iowa offensive line earned the 2016 Joe Moore Award, which is presented to the best offensive line in college football.
Pawlak served as a graduate assistant on the Northern Illinois coaching staff for two seasons before moving to Iowa. There, he helped the Huskies earn back-to-back bowl appearances in 2014 and 2015, including six straight appearances in the Mid-American Conference championship game.
A three-year starter at NIU, Pawlak started the final 41 games of his career and appeared in 52 total games. As a member of the 2011 MAC championship team, he was part of an offensive line that allowed just 12 sacks to rank 10th in the nation for fewest sacks allowed as the NIU offense broke 12 single-season records led by future Heisman finalist Jordan Lynch at quarterback. Pawlak earned all-conference honors in 2010 and academic all-conference recognition in 2011.
“I am super excited to get this opportunity to coach at the University of North Dakota,” said Pawlak. “This is a big deal and great honor, I can’t wait to get started and be up in Grand Forks. I want to thank Tim Polasek, Brian Ferentz, and Kirk Ferentz for the opportunity to learn from the best and be around the best. I am excited to apart of UND football; we will be tough, physical, and smart.”
Pawlak graduated from Northern Illinois with a bachelor’s degree in sociology in 2011 and a master’s degree in sport management in 2013. He just recently completed his master’s degree in leisure and recreational sports management at Iowa.