ROCKFORD, Ill. (WTVO/WQRF) — Northern Illinois University built a MAC championship football team last fall. Wednesday most of the football team was in Rockford building something else, homes for Habitat for Humanity.

They spent the bulk of the day volunteering on Rockford Area Habitat for Humanity’s construction sites.

On a blistering hot day as it was Wednesday in Rockford, most people would be in search of a cool place, not these players.

“We play football games in the hot so we are used to it,” said one Huskie.

But the NIU football team had other plans.

“It’s not very often that we get out as a complete team and get to service the community in any way.”

The reigning MAC champs put down their cleats and picked up some power tools.

“It’s just so incredible to see so many people coming out to help us today,” said Keri Asevedo, the Executive Director of Rockford Area Habitat for Humanity.

Three busloads of Huskies rolled in from DeKalb and went right to work.

“I mean you gotta love it. This is NIU football right here. We’re not cute, we’re gritty, so I mean this fits us perfect.”

Head coach Thomas Hammock reached out to the organization because he wanted his players to understand the importance of giving back to their community and to those people who support them.

“We want to build complete men,” said Hammock. “And I think part of being complete men is not being consumed with football only, not being so consumed with yourself. And part of that is having outreach with the community.”

The guys fully embraced the opportunity they had in front of them Wednesday. For veteran linebacker Kyle Pugh, that mindset has never shifted.”

“I think that this is the biggest thing that we can do in terms of realizing that we are more than just football players and we have a bigger impact on the community.”

The Huskies are more than football players. They are people laying the foundation for tommorrow.”

“This is the most we’ve ever had on a build site in the history of our organization. So today Huskies, you have made history and we are so unbelievably grateful for you.”