Never has the phrase “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it” been more applicable than the impending North Dakota State head coaching search.
With Chris Klieman on his way out the door to Kansas State (hopefully after adding another ring to the collection), North Dakota State is on a run that makes Nick Saban’s tenure at Alabama look hot-seat worthy. Dating back to the beginning of the 2011 season, the Bison are 110-8 overall, 58-6 in Missouri Valley play, 67-5 in the Fargodome and an insane 28-1 in the FCS playoffs with six national championships and perhaps a seventh on the way.
Klieman was promoted from within after Craig Bohl left for Wyoming at the conclusion of the Bison’s 2013 national title run, and sources indicated North Dakota State is looking to keep it in the family in searching for Klieman’s successor.
Three candidates that have been mentioned to sources are North Dakota State defensive coordinator Matt Entz, Iowa offensive line coach Tim Polasek and Wyoming offensive coordinator Brent Vigen.
Entz’s has run NDSU’s defense since Klieman ascended to the head coaching role, and worked previously under Klieman as Northern Iowa’s defensive line coach in 2010. A multi-year FCS Coordinator of the Year finalist (including 2018), Entz has produced a litany of top-ranked defenses while serving as Klieman’s shotgun rider for the past half decade.
Polasek spent a decade in the NDSU program under Bohl and Klieman. He arrived in 2006 as running backs coach, added special teams coordinator duties in 2010. Polasek joined Northern Illinois’ staff for one season, then returned to serve as offensive coordinator in 2014 when Klieman got the head job, calling plays for Klieman for three seasons until he left to become Iowa’s offensive line coach ahead of the 2017 season.
Vigen is a North Dakota State graduate who served as his alma mater’s offensive coordinator from 2009-13 before following Bohl to Wyoming, where he has remained since 2014. Also Wyoming’s quarterbacks coach, Vigen added an associate head coach title ahead of the 2017 season.
Other candidates could emerge as the process develops, but that’s where sources tell us North Dakota State is looking at the outset.
The Bison host rival South Dakota State in the FCS semifinals on Friday night (8 p.m. ET, ESPN2). A win there would send North Dakota State to the FCS National Championship — their seventh in eight years — on Jan. 5 in Frisco, Texas.
As always, stay tuned to The Scoop for the latest.
Update> Pete Thamel reports Entz is getting the job.
North Dakota State expected to promote defensive coordinator Matt Entz to head coach, sources tell @YahooSports.
— Pete Thamel (@PeteThamel) December 13, 2018