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Wayne Nelson / Forum News Service, Published December 24 2013

Schweigert returns as UND head coach 10 years after leaving program

GRAND FORKS - Ten years to the day that he left the University of North Dakota football program, Kyle “Bubba” Schweigert is returning to Memorial Stadium.

On Tuesday, UND announced that Schweigert will become the 26th coach in school history. He’ll take over for Chris Mussman, whose contract was not renewed by North Dakota in November.

Schweigert returns to Grand Forks from Southern Illinois, where he was the associate head coach and defensive coordinator for the past six seasons. Schweigert spent 15 seasons as a UND assistant, from 1989 to 2003.

Schweigert, 51, will take over a program that still is in the infant stages of its Big Sky Conference membership, and one that will try to make a mark in one of the more powerful Division I FCS leagues in the country.

Schweigert agreed to a four-year contract with a base of $150,000 per year, according to UND.

“It is truly an honor and a privilege to serve the University of North Dakota as its head football coach,” said Schweigert. “I am looking forward to hiring a staff and building a program that will represent UND in a first-class manner, both on and off the field.

“We will put forth great effort to facilitate positive relations with fans, alumni, the community and the student body. We look forward to playing exciting championship football in front of thousands of loyal fans as we strive to win the Big Sky Conference championship and, ultimately, reach the pinnacle of FCS football.”

Schweigert was one of two finalists for the position, although UND never officially confirmed that.

UND received more than 70 applications, but in the end only Schweigert and Kalen DeBoer, the Southern Illinois offensive coordinator, were interviewed by athletic director Brian Faison.

Schweigert and DeBoer, who work in the same athletic complex in Carbondale, were interviewed Sunday and Monday. Faison offered the position to Schweigert late Monday afternoon.

“Coach Schweigert brings a wealth of coaching experience, is a proven recruiter, an effective communicator and has an incredible passion for the game and for the success of his student-athletes on the field and in the classroom,” said Faison. “From defense to offense to special teams, his philosophy is great: ATTACK.”

At UND, Schweigert’s 3-4 defensive alignment was a key factor in North Dakota’s rise to Division II prominence. He was the defensive coordinator on UND’s 2001 national championship team.

After the 2003 Division II title game, Schweigert left UND to become the Minnesota-Duluth head coach.

He remained there for four seasons before joining Dale Lennon’s staff at Southern Illinois. At Minnesota-Duluth, his teams went 22-21. But in 2008, the year after Schweigert left for Southern Illinois, Minnesota-Duluth won the Division II national title. The majority of players on that team were recruited by Schweigert.

At Southern Illinois, Schweigert’s 2010 defense led the Missouri Valley in total defense and his unit finished in the top half of the league in four of his six seasons at SIU.

During his SIU years, Schweigert has had three first team all-Americans and 20 all-conference selections (10 first team, six second team, and four honorable mention).

His defensive standouts have included linebacker Jayson DiManche, currently playing for Cincinnati Bengals, and cornerback Korey Lindsey, a three-time all-American and a 2011 draft pick of the Bengals.

Schweigert played collegiately at the University of Jamestown, where he was a safety. He is originally from Zeeland, N.D.

Schweigert and his wife, Laura, have two sons, Alex and Cooper.

In the upcoming weeks, Schweigert’s focus will be on building a staff and recruiting. There was no immediate word on whether any SIU assistants will follow Schweigert to UND.