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Jeff Kolpack, Published December 08 2013

NDSU athletic director says Bohl will coach Bison until season's end

FARGO – North Dakota State athletic director Gene Taylor said Sunday afternoon that Craig Bohl will coach the North Dakota State football team the rest of the season.

Bohl will be named the head coach at the University of Wyoming at a press conference in Laramie on Sunday night, but will return to the team along with all of the assistant coaches. Taylor said he talked with Bohl on Friday about the position but he said Bohl had yet to make up his mind.

“When I saw that Wyoming was open, I knew they would come after Craig,” Taylor said.

Bohl will owe NDSU a $100,000 buyout per his contract. He will also not be allowed to contact any current Bison recruits. NDSU has 14 verbal commitments for the 2014 recruiting class.

“We will manage that as best we can,” Taylor said. “I think Craig will be respectful of that.”

Bison players were not available for comment on Sunday. Taylor met with the team Sunday morning in what he called a players-only meeting.

One of the topics at the news conference: why wasn’t the team notified first? Taylor said Bohl was going to wait until Sunday morning, but once the initial reports surfaced on social media, it didn’t take long for everybody to find out.

“We probably should have notified the kids last night,” Taylor said. “Nobody wants to find out the way they found out. … I couldn’t be more proud of the way they handled this.”

Taylor said he hasn’t set a timetable for a successor, saying he first needs to talk with NDSU President Dean Bresciani. He did not rule out any current assistant coaches as possible replacements with most likely appearing to be offensive coordinator Brent Vigen and defensive coordinator Chris Klieman.

“I did meet with the staff and I said to them you need to be committed,” Taylor said.

Taylor said he wasn’t shocked Bohl’s announcement came so abruptly, saying he knew this day was coming. Bohl took the Bison job in 2003 when the school was still a Division II school and built it into a Division I FCS power despite weathering a five-year Division I reclassification.

Taylor said when he heard about the salary that Wyoming was willing to offer, he said he knew it would be tough to keep Bohl. Fired Cowboys coach Dave Christensen made $1.2 million per season and reports indicate Bohl’s package could be as high as $1.5 million. His base salary at NDSU was $206,000 although incentives pushed it to around $350,000 last year.

In an oddity, Taylor said it’s possible NDSU could hire a new coach before the FCS national title game if the Bison should make it that far. In that case, Bohl would still remain with NDSU.

“I imagine that would be a little unusual and a little odd,” Taylor said.

Earlier Sunday, Bohl confirmed on his weekly coach’s show that he is Wyoming-bound.

“There is no perfect time, but I can tell you the No. 1 goal is the 2013 Bison,” Bohl said during the broadcast. “For us to take our football team as far as it can go. They’re not easy times. North Dakota State is a very, very special place in my heart. There’s been 11 years that I invested here.”

CBS Sports first reported Saturday that Bohl was going to be named the next head coach at Wyoming. The Bison have won back-to-back FCS national championships and are in the midst of a run for a third consecutive national crown.

Bohl said Wyoming reached out to his representation during the week.

“I had very limited contact at all,” Bohl said.

Bohl met with the Bison players at 9 a.m. He declined comment as he left the NDSU team room in the lower level of the Fargodome.