Wayne Nelson / Forum News Service, Published December 10 2013
UND coaching search to intensifyGRAND FORKS – The University of North Dakota’s search for its next football coach intensifies beginning today now that the application deadline has closed.
The application deadline for the position was Tuesday. At the end of the day, UND had received 72 applications – including one from someone with close ties to UND football.
Bubba Schweigert – a former UND associate head coach and defensive coordinator – submitted his application late Monday. He now is the associate head coach and defensive coordinator at Southern Illinois.
Schweigert spent 15 years on the UND staff, helping North Dakota to six conference titles, eight playoff appearances and the 2001 Division II national championship. He left UND to take over the head job at Minnesota-Duluth, where he coached for four seasons.
He left Duluth to join Dale Lennon’s staff at Southern Illinois in 2008. Lennon was UND’s head coach for nine seasons before leaving for Southern Illinois.
The application pool for UND’s next coach is across the board, featuring head coaches at the Division II, III and NAIA levels, FCS assistants, FBS assistants, former assistant coaches at all levels and former pro coaches.
However, UND may not opt to hire any of the 72 applicants. The position will remain open until filled. Coaches that applied by Tuesday, however, likely will have preference in the hiring process.
Because of North Dakota’s vast open-record laws, a number of coaches rumored to be interested in the position have yet to apply – if indeed they will.
Some coaches simply don’t want their names officially linked to the application process if they’re employed at other schools.
Another factor in UND’s coaching search surfaced over the weekend when NDSU coach Craig Bohl took the Wyoming job.
With NDSU now looking for a coach, there is speculation that potential candidates that have not yet applied may be weighing options regarding the two openings.
Regardless, UND will now move forward in the hiring process.
All candidates will be scored to see how they meet UND’s requirements. From there, it’s expected three to five coaches will receive on-campus interviews.
UND athletic director Brian Faison has not placed a timetable on when he expects to make the hire, saying only the school wants to bring in a coach as soon as possible since national signing day is roughly two months away.
Realistically, the earliest UND will announce a hire is still roughly 10 days away.
There were three other candidates of note who applied Tuesday. They were Army associate coach Ian Shields; former South Dakota coach Ed Meierkort, who coached high school football in Florida after his contract was not renewed by South Dakota; and Central Michigan offensive coordinator Michael Cummings.
Nelson is the sports editor of the Grand Forks Herald