North Dakota State head coach Craig Bohl will be the next head coach at Wyoming, a source confirmed to the Star-Tribune on Saturday evening.

Bohl's North Dakota State teams have won the last two FCS National Championships, and the Bison are currently 13-0 this season. North Dakota State defeated Furman on Saturday to advance to the FCS quarterfinals.

Bohl, 55, is 101-32 in 11 seasons at North Dakota State, including 41-2 in the past three seasons.

A few Wyoming players took to Twitter on Saturday night to express their approval of Bohl's hire as the team's 32nd head coach.

Redshirt freshman defensive tackle Chase Appleby tweeted, "Excited to meet Coach Bohl. Did a hell of a job at NDSU!"

In response to a Star-Tribune tweet announcing Bohl's hire, sophomore offensive guard Zach D'Amico tweeted, "me and [sophomore center] Rafe Kiely are excited about this opportunity, he is a proven winner".

Bohl played defensive back at Nebraska from 1977 to 1980, playing on teams that went to the Orange Bowl in 1979 and Cotton Bowl in 1980.

He coached 18 seasons at the Division I level prior to his time at North Dakota State. In that span, Bohl coached linebackers at Tulsa and Wisconsin, was the defensive coordinator at Rice, the linebackers coach and defensive coordinator at Duke, and the linebackers coach and defensive coordinator at Nebraska.

Bohl coached at his alma mater, Nebraska, from 1995 to 2002, serving as defensive coordinator in the final three seasons of that tenure. During his time there, the Cornhuskers compiled an 85-18 record and won the national championship in 1995 and 1997.

After a 5-7 season in 2013, Wyoming fired fifth-year head coach Dave Christensen last Sunday. Christensen went 27-35 and reached two bowl games during his time in Laramie.

"It’s never easy … but it’s the business," Wyoming athletic director Tom Burman said Monday, referring to the decision to fire Christensen. "But the one thing about Dave, he always said, 'I get the business. I understand the game, and my job is to win.' So Dave was absolutely stand-up during the process.”

The UW athletic department sent out a press release Saturday afternoon stating that a "major announcement" would be made at a press conference Sunday at 5 p.m. The press conference, which will be held at the Wildcatter Stadium Suites attached to War Memorial Stadium, is open to the public.

Many other candidates were rumored to be near the top of Wyoming's wish list, including Illinois State head coach Brock Spack and former California coach Jeff Tedford.

Though sources initially indicated that Spack visited Laramie on Saturday morning, the former Wyoming defensive coordinator denied any involvement in the search on Saturday afternoon.

"I am not going to the University of Wyoming. I am very happy where I'm at," Spack told the Bloomington (Ill.) Pentagraph.

Tedford returned from a vacation to Hawaii on Friday, former Oregon coach and close friend Mike Bellotti told the Star-Tribune on Saturday afternoon. Though they hadn't spoken in 3-4 days, Bellotti said Tedford was at least initially "definitely interested" in the opening at Wyoming.

But it appears Burman has found his man. In a news conference on Monday, Burman said he was looking for a candidate with head coaching experience who could reintroduce a "culture of toughness" to Wyoming.

Bohl, who has thrived coaching defensive-minded teams in cold weather climates, could very well fit that bill.

“Whether you go back to Dana Dimel’s three years at the University of Wyoming, or Joe Tiller’s, we always had a toughness," Burman said Monday. "And we have to get that back. That’s a culture. You can take young kids and athletically but also mentally [teach them] so they come out and compete every Saturday with a very tough-minded personality.

"We can’t be successful at Wyoming if we’re not tougher than our opponent.”

Reach reporter Mike Vorel at Mike.Vorel@trib.com. Follow him on Twitter @MikeVorel.

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(23) comments

kevinwilliams

If this is turns out to be true I truly believe this is the best fit for Wyoming from all of the candidates that conjecture by "experts" put out there. Experienced, a proven winner and used to recruiting to the "frozen tundra" areas of football playing campuses.

Ben Colder

Brilliant, Burman! But then a blind squirrel finds an acorn now and then. Your's is on the line more than a prairie dog on a short shot. We long suffering Cowboy fans beg for honor and respectability more than anything else. Win with class, lose with class, and never act like CSU.

GedFish

I don't know about others, but I am excited. Being on a notional championship coaching team, winning record, and head coaching experience. These are all great qualities. However, the one that sticks out the most to me is with the division 1 teams he was the defensive coordinator. Defense has been Wyoming's struggle for many years. He has coached finishers. 1st and 2nd half. It makes me wonder as well if his arrival will draw some of his players to come to Wyoming. Couldn't hurt, right?

Jim S

Ben Colder,

Agreed, I am an Alumni that likes this hire. But as for class, have you been to a recent game? I want class too, but class is severely lacking from the student section. I get really sick and tired of hearing Mother Trucker (but they aren't saying Trucker) after every first down. It is something that started during Joe's last year. Dave tried stopping it, but the dumb students kept it up. It is not Wyoming tradition, is totally classless, it is not tough, it is not intimidating, it is dumb and other teams laugh at it. Cheer and be loud absolutely, but this cheer send it to the trash bin where it belongs.

KayFabe

Wyoming fans have always been lacking class. Remember when Brigham Young was in the WAC? What did the fans chant? F U .....BYU. The same chant rhymes with CSU.The student section was also notorious for throwing snowballs at opposing teams. I remember seeing CSU players hit right in the helmet as they lined up for the kick off. Once at a BYU basketball game, I saw kids in the student section using a lighter to heat pennies, and then they threw them at the BYU bench. I could go on and on, but I think every Wyoming fan who is a bit older knows that the student section in Laramie is totally immature and lacking class, and has forever. Those kids are all plastered at the games. I really don't see any way to fix it, unless brain transplants become a reality.

KayFabe

Wyoming + Coach Bohl = temporary success = stepping stone

Bohl will one day be coaching in a much bigger market, and he deserves it. If he can turn this program around, he can do anything.

Kool Kat

I see this as Burman's final "fire then hire".
This guy better make things happen with the loaded talent Wyoming has or Burman's toast.

KayFabe

Bohl will rebuild Wyoming and then move on to a bigger and better program. There was a crazy rumor started on one of the threads in the North Dakota media that Wyoming was joining the BIG 12. LMAO!

Pokes

Kay, why don't you take your sniveling, ignorant remarks elsewhere. Sports-illiterate smack-talkers like you are a dime a dozen on the internet. Bohl will be given the tools he needs to succeed at Wyoming. The guy is 55 years old. This could easily be his final job. If he wanted a Power-5 conference gig, he could have waited. Obviously, that wasn't a high priority at this point. Pseudo-fans like you obviously don't get out of the house much to experience the behavior of other fanbases on the road.

Kool Kat

Very interesting report KayFabe, but like TCU and Utah. The only thing Wyoming is missing is, a football program like TCU and Utah had in the MWC. Looks like Shyatt is building his program for that type of success.
Its possible that with two BCS appearances and wins like TCU and Utah, that an AQ Conference may invite Wyoming along with CSU and AFA. As I don't see these schools going their separate ways. And if New Mexico gets with it- football wise? Four schools.

But that is all mere speculation .... which I won't laugh at. But until then, it is laughable.

perplexedjohn


There are a couple of Wyoming high school coaches that could fit the bill as assistant coaches and get them ready when the new coach hits the road in a couple of years.

pappy

He has had a great record in the FCS, but so did Glen before we hired him. It's a big step up in who you play and recruiting. In the last few years we probably couldn't beat the top 10 FCS teams so this may be a step up. He has some good athletes in place but may have lost some recruits this year because of the coaching change.

As to him using UW as a stepping stone, there's probably only a dozen coaching out there that wouldn't leave there current jobs if they felt they could improve where they coach, look at Boise State coach. It's just a fact of life in college sports today and it's been that way for a long time, Tiller, Erickson, Etc. If they build a good program they are probably moving on; if they don't build a good program they are moving on.

The verdict is still out, but I am hoping for the best.

Kool Kat

Attn pappy, FCS and FBS action require completely different players. FCS can take many Wyoming players in which they do.
FBS take much Bigger, faster and harder hitting talent, in which Wyoming's FCS recruit could not do, in Glenn. Records don't mean much as Glenn won two FCS championships but, not competitive in FBS play action .
I think this is Burman's last chance with football coach changes - UW should start looking for another Athletic Director, in the meantime.

pappy

KK I agree that FBS schools have to recruit at a higher level. bUt I would say that Bohl is recruiting at the same level WY is currently. WY's current team struggled with N. Colorado, I would hate to see them have to match up with North Dakota State, or any other school in the 5 of the FCS. Bohl will have to step it up if he is going to compete at the top of the MW but he is a winner and he can do that. Unfortunately, because of the timing, he will probably lose the top players in this years recruiting class.

I do agree that Burman is the problem and that firing the 3 rd defensive coordinator in 5 years and firing Christensen was CYA.

Kool Kat

pappy, I remember Glenn doing the very same identical thing. In Glenn's case, he has better athletes to work with that Koenig left behind, is where his success with a Vegas Bowl win and came from.
Then his recruits took over and we saw what he could do, barely compete with Montana in Laramie, then blown out by FBS teams abroad and in conference. Bohl comes from the same level play, why should Wyoming fans find another FCS any better?
As Glenn had 2 FCS Championships, just as Bohl apparently does from what I'd read. I just don't feel comfortable with another FCS coach. At least Christensen knew how to recruit which is better than Glenn and somewhat Koenig recruiting.

kevinwilliams

Pappy, very true that Erickson was using UW as a stepping stone, but I think Joe Tiller would have remained if Lee Moon hadn't basically ran him off by insulting him with a feeble contract offer. Of course, Joe Tiller was not a "Moon" hire, so it was only a matter of time till he was gone. I agree that the state of UW athletics lies with the AD...but with that in mind, try to remember the dark days of the Lee Moon era. In that case, the Moon shed not one ray of light.

pappy

I know Moon was a not a good AD actually pathetic would be better description but I don't think Tilller would have turned down Purdue. More money, more pestigage, and more opportunity. I know Tiller liked WY and still does I wasn't dissing him. It's just the way it is in the coaching world. Our problem, since Roach era, has been with AD's and not coaches.

TrustButVerify

Congratulations, Wyoming! I grew up in Nebraska during the Devaney years. I believe he coached at Wyoming and have followed Nebraska through the Good, Bad and the Ugly and keep track of Nebraska guys and always root for them wherever they end up. I listed to the NDSU game on Saturday, while following a couple of other local teams here in Montana (Carroll College and U. of M. Craig Bohls is a stand up guy much like former Nebraska coach, Tom Osborne. I was surprised to learn that he is leaving, but more power to him. I think he will do well and I have noticed in reading comments that many of the folks who comment are "nattering nebobs of negativism" (quote from VP Spiro Agnew)! Welcome Coach Bohl with open arms, support him 100% and you will be rewarded not only with "W's,
but with the positive influence on the young men he coaches.

Now I will be following Wyoming. Hope there is a way I can livestream your games.

Triple BB

Bohl looks as good on paper as anyone they've brought in during the last 20 years. Time will tell. If he's as successful as Burman hopes, he'll be gone in 3 years. If he's not, he'll be gone in 5. Regarding an earlier post about rowdy students, I remember as a student back in the mid/late 80's how raucous we were. At one basketball game against BYU, some students brought in helium balloons. They attached a large banner to them that spelled out FU BYU. They released the balloons and the banner unfurled as it rose towards the rafters. The maintenance folks were helpless to get it down and there it stayed for the entire game. Truly classic!!! Sorry I digress. Having said that, its still time to get rid of head sports clown Tom Burman. I've donated money to the Cowboy Joe in the past, however I'm done until he's gone...

TrustButVerify

Of course, its your money to donate as you wish. However, please consider all the folks who benefit from your financial support. It goes far beyond your AD. The team, local businesses, the school as a whole. Financial support equates to better facilities, better recruiting, and so forth. Turning off the spigot potentially dooms more than just one individual's position, it could adversely affect the team for years to come.

I wish Wyoming, its new coach and the team well. Change is difficult, but Craig has mentored under some pretty good coaches. Support his well and you will not be disappointed. He was at NDSU for many years, at least 8. The foundation he laid there is a stable one and NDSU will continue to be strong.

Cody Coyote

I can see why Bohl would bolt down south to Wyoming. Too darn cold in North Dakota...

Wyopoke

I was there is the late 80s myself and completely agree with Triple BB. Good times but good rivalries mean that both teams put up a fight. One team getting the equivalent of an atomic wedgie every time they step in the field does not make a rivalry - especially when you are in the receiving end. Over the recent past we have had great offenses and great defenses but seldom at the same time. There are only so many D1 scholarships out there so lets not make that excuse. I'm a Christianson fan but understand he may not have the leadership presence to sew it all together yet. With more experience he will and I do wish him luck.

Hopefully Coach Bohl has that element with his distinguished background as a player, assistant, and head coach. I wonder what Tom Osborne would say about him in private over a beer.....

Also agree with Cody Coyote - You cannot possibly understand how brutal winter is up there unless you've been through it.

conservation know it all

Great hire, I didn't figure he would want to leave his dynasty at NDSU. He was set to make around $300,000 this year, so the money will, surprisingly, be much better. New challenge for a Tom Osbourne disciple, I can't see how we could have done any better.

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