|« Griz Set To Begin Spring Practice||SSU announces tentative 2010 football schedule »|
NDSU's Bohl introduces 3 new coaches
The modus operandi of hiring assistants has changed at North Dakota State. Head coach Craig Bohl officially introduced three coaches on Thursday who have no direct connection to Division I Football Bowl Subdivision programs.
Wide receivers coach Kenni Burns was at Southern Illinois, defensive backs coach Brian Ward was the head coach at McPherson College (Kan.) and defensive tackles assistant Nick Goeser was at Minnesota-Duluth. It’s the first time in his seven years at NDSU that Bohl has not tapped into a high-major pedigree with this many hires.
In January, he promoted defensive line coach Scott Hazelton to defensive coordinator. Hazelton will now handle the linebackers.
“The one thing I’ve found is identify coaches who come in and demonstrate competency and desire to be here and sometimes those guys may not be from a Division I school,” Bohl said.
He said it was more important to find assistants who are familiar with NDSU and its offensive and defensive concepts. Ward, for example, ran the Bison’s Tampa 2 defensive alignment at McPherson.
Ward built the NAIA school into a national title contender in just three years. The Bulldogs reached the NAIA Football Championship Series for the first time last season.
“We were able to turn it around in three years,” Ward said. “I felt like we did what we came there to do and opportunities like this don’t come around very often.”
Ward will recruit the Twin Cities area, which is like being handed the keys to perhaps the most hotly-contested Football Championship Subdivision battle for players between the likes of NDSU, North Dakota, South Dakota State, South Dakota and Northern Iowa. Ward was born in Minneapolis, but has yet to recruit the area.
“I don’t think there’s a magic formula to it,” he said. “But prospective student-athletes can see a genuine interest and it has to go beyond football and I think recruits can see that when you’re sitting in their houses. I’m at a place now that can sell itself but that won’t get you the best athletes.”
Burns has been a part of a Southern Illinois program that has attracted top athletes for years. He’ll continue to recruit the Chicago area and Bohl said the plan is to stretch him into the St. Louis area, too.
Goeser comes to NDSU after two playoff years at Duluth including an undefeated NCAA Division II championship season in 2008.
“People ask what it’s like to be on a coaching staff and the best analogy I can give is it’s like being on a nuclear submarine for six months,” Bohl said. “You work in a small, confined area and you see the same guys more than anybody else so you better be able to get along.”
by Jeff Kolpack