Bohl-ieve He’s Here to Stay
Head coach shows commitment to NDSU
Published: Monday, October 14, 2013
Updated: Monday, October 14, 2013 15:10
NDSU head coach Craig Bohl has developed a reputation within college sports circles.
The NDSU record holder for most wins by a head coach has put together a Football Championship Subdivision program, which has gone 7-3 against FBS teams—including an upset win over Big 12 champion Kansas State, shocking the entire country in the process.
NDSU’s success attracted ESPN’s “College GameDay” to Fargo, which is something not a large number of football programs can say.
Naturally, many Bison fans have wondered if the North Dakota hero would take his considerable resume to a bigger BCS school.
However, according to NDSU Athletic Director Gene Taylor, Bison fans shouldn’t be losing sleep anytime soon.
“I don’t worry as much as I did five or six years ago when he was having success,” Taylor said. “It’s a slim chance, but right now it’s not something I keep a lot of thought of that that’s going to happen. I’m very confident that Craig is going to be here for the remaining portion of his contract.”
Only a few days before winning his second FCS national title in January, NDSU announced Bohl signed an eight-year extension to his contract worth $205,503 per year with the possibility of increased based on performance. The deal also includes bonuses for achievements throughout the season such as $10,000 for a Missouri Valley Football Conference title and $15,000 dollars for a FCS championship.
“I want to thank Gene Taylor for his leadership and believing in the direction that we have established for the North Dakota State football program,” Bohl said after the contract was finalized. “I sincerely appreciate the university’s long-term commitment to me and to the future of Bison football.”
A notable stipulation to the deal said if Bohl were to leave NDSU for another NCAA head coaching job, he would have to pay the school $100,000.
If he were to leave for a higher-end BCS team, he would owe $413,000—twice his yearly salary.
Though the provisions may seem like a stretch for self-protection, Taylor said the extension—as well as the penalties for leaving—wasn’t his idea to begin with.
“It was Craig’s idea,” Taylor said. “He basically said, ‘If you’re willing to commit to me for a lengthy period of time, I feel I owe you some commitment and some reassurance that I will be here.’”
Despite the steep provisions, many Bison faithful may still foresee Bohl’s departure in the near future.
Taylor admitted there may be some reason to worry, but not nearly as much as one would think.
“A lot of people made it sound like we’re not going to keep him,” Taylor said. “That’s really not the case. He clearly said, ‘I want to be here and if you’re going to commit to me then I feel like I should owe you something back if I should ever leave.’”
If Bohl were to leave, he would not only have to answer to Bison fans and players, but also high school recruits exploring their collegiate options.
Taylor said Bohl’s expression of dedication made an important statement for the future of NDSU.
“He was the one that approached me about committing to a lengthy contract,” Taylor said. “That tells me he wants to be here for a long period of time.
“That should answer a lot of the recruits’ questions like, ‘How long are you going to be here, coach?’ when he goes into these homes to visit with the young men.”
Taylor stressed how reassuring the signing was for NDSU athletics. When Bohl was the one to make the first move, Taylor was able to take a sigh of relief, knowing the commitment Bohl had toward the program.
“It ensures some stability in our football program for quite some time,” Taylor said. “Many coaches don’t do that. They have a chance to have success and they’re looking at the next opportunity. Craig’s not that way. He’s had success and he’s looking to make a commitment to us.”
Now looking for a third consecutive national championship, the Bison will have plenty of stability with their coaching staff moving forward.
“The success that we’ve accomplished has been possible because of the collective efforts of the football coaches, staff, players, our administration and the entire NDSU family,” Bohl said after his contract was finalized.
Formalities aside, Taylor and Bohl have formed a solid relationship outside of football. Taylor said the language in Bohl’s deal isn’t what gives him the biggest sense of reassurance.
The talks they had behind closed doors was when Taylor knew Bohl was with the Bison for the long haul.
“I think that one of the reasons we’ve been able to come to these decisions is because we have a great relationship,” Taylor said. “There’s a lot of trust. He trusts that I’m going to do everything to help him advance this program, and I trust him to do things and make decisions that will be in the best interest of NDSU.”