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Jeff Kolpack, Published August 28 2012

Bohl's clock is always ticking after FCS title

Fargo - The plaque that sits behind Craig Bohl’s desk is a motto of sorts that the North Dakota State head coach tries to live by.

“Just coach the team.”

The theory behind the slogan is to worry about what goes on inside his program, from the daily routine of practice and recruiting to the frenzy of Saturdays. Whatever goes on away from the immediate arm of the program – be it marketing, fans, administrative matters or facility questions – he reverts to the motto.

Just coach the team.

But the mantra got a workout in the offseason after the Bison won a Division I Football Championship Subdivision national title. More than ever, people wanted a piece of Bohl, and it was hard to find enough slices of the pie to satisfy everybody.

More than ever, civic groups wanted to hear him speak.

“I think we kind of knew that would be the case from January on,” said athletic director Gene Taylor. “We talked about it; How are you going to manage it? So he had a pretty good plan in his mind on how to deal with it.”

Still, Bohl acknowledged this week he didn’t take as much time off as he did in previous years. Part of it was he added a couple of items to his own plate.

He’s one of two FCS coaches on the American Football Coaches Association Board of Trustees, a body that meets four times a year to discuss everything from NCAA legislation to eligibility enforcement. Harvard head coach Tim Murphy is the other FCS member.

“It’s important for us to continue to push the agenda for FCS football,” Bohl said, adding that it’s not easy in a college football world that is centered on the power conferences.

Bohl is also a member of the AFCA rules committee. He attended a football officials training program in Chicago.

Still, he said, he never did anything in the last seven months to compromise his job title. Taylor said he didn’t notice this offseason being much different than the rest, although Bohl said he took fewer days off this year than in previous years.

He still traveled the state in the spring, meeting with high school football coaches in all corners of North Dakota. He still met with Team Makers booster club members and he spent time with his assistant coaches and players. He said it’s still important to him to get out in the community when possible.

“So there is less time in a day,” Bohl said, “but you just try to manage it a little more.”

Now in his 10th year as the NDSU head coach, he said experience has taught him how to handle a tight schedule with more efficiency. He read the book, “Younger Next Year: A Guide to Living Like 50 Until You’re 80 and Beyond.”

“What we cannot do and what I will not do is forget the things that have brought us to where we’re at,” Bohl said. “I do think where coaches sometimes fail is they forget they’re a head football coach. The No. 1 responsibility I have is the sign behind my desk.”

Just coach the team.


Forum reporter Jeff Kolpack can be reached at (701) 241-5546. Kolpack’s NDSU media blog can be found at www.areavoices.com/bisonmedia

Kolpack is the host of the WDAY Golf Show Saturdays from 8-9 a.m. on 970-AM.