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.
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"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.”