You may not be familiar with the name and you may not care because he isn't a five-star quarterback or one of the most highly recruited players in the country. But Bill Rees is Northwestern's new assistant director of football operations and he lends a lot of credit to the program.
Rees, whose son Tommy is a second-string quarterback at Notre Dame, has been involved in scouting for 30 years. In the late 1970s and early 1980s, working for Terry Donahue at UCLA, Rees was the most famous recruiter in the country. He personally took UCLA nationally.
He wasn't a coach. He traveled across the country and also had UCLA ranked among the top 10 recruiting classes in the country. He was the bridge between Jerry Pettibone, who was the first famous recruiting coordinator when he was at Oklahoma (before he became head coach at Northern Illinois) and Vinny Cerrato at Notre Dame.
Rees was the most celebrated recruiter coordinator in college football before Cerrato came along. Because of their success, the NCAA introduced a rule that required the recruiting coordinator to be one nine coaches on the staff who had to go on the road to recruit.
Until then, Rees and Cerrato were recruiters only. They went everywhere to recruit the best players in the country. They weren't athletes. They were relentless and personable. They proved that you don't have to be a player to be a recruiter. A great recruiter has the ability to sell his program, no matter where he is.
Rees, a New Trier graduate, also served as a professional scout for the last 15 years with the Browns, 49ers and Bears.
Rees may be limited in what he can do at Northwestern--he certainly will have restraints compared to the advantages he enjoyed at UCLA--but his ability to sell coach Pat Fitzgerald's program to kids to visit the Evanston campus officially and unofficially will be a great strength.