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Jeff Kolpack, Published February 25 2010

Kolpack: Bison expecting new assistant football coach; Ward reportedly will become new defensive backs coach

Brian Ward is scheduled to arrive in Fargo today from McPherson, Kan., and it’s expected he will officially be a North Dakota State assistant football coach by this afternoon.

The head coach at NAIA McPherson College, reached by phone Wednesday morning, said he did not want to comment until the hiring process is complete.

NDSU head coach Craig Bohl is out of town and unavailable for comment until Monday.

The 36-year-old Ward built McPherson into a winner and his leaving was a shock to local boosters. McPherson went 9-2 last year and will return 19 starters next fall in addition to what is considered an outstanding recruiting class.

He’s expected to coach the defensive backs at NDSU. Ward resigned from his position at McPherson on Monday.

“This is a great opportunity for Brian,” McPherson athletic director Jenni Richardson told the McPherson Sentinel newspaper. “We wish him the best in his new position. He has built a great foundation for the football program.”

NDSU is also expected to announce at some point that Southern Illinois assistant Kenni Burns will be named the receivers coach.

Summit decision won’t affect NDSU-UND game

The fact The Summit League closed membership possibilities to the University of North Dakota until after 2011-12 will not have a bearing on the Bison and Sioux potentially scheduling a men’s or women’s game.

If the Sioux looked like a sure bet to join the conference in a particular year, then there would be no need to put together a non-conference game.

“The discussion I’m hearing is let’s look at it in 2011,” said NDSU athletic director Gene Taylor.

But the fact basketball teams generally have plenty of dates available makes any year a possibility.

Asked if playing in the Fargodome is a possibility, Taylor said he has not had a conversation with the dome or with head men’s basketball coach Saul Phillips about that.

Bison were close to Drake for home opener

Taylor, meanwhile, is still busy trying to land an 11th football game next fall. He said Wednesday that he was close to signing Drake University (Iowa), but the Bulldogs will play at Montana State instead.

Montana State head coach Rob Ash is a former head coach at Drake, which Taylor said may have played a factor in Drake heading to Bozeman.

It leaves NDSU still searching for a Sept. 18 home opener.

Readers can reach Forum reporter Jeff Kolpack at (701) 241-5546