Bohl Accepts Head Coaching Job at Wyoming
Published: Monday, December 9, 2013
Updated: Monday, December 9, 2013 14:12
Shock waves broke out across Fargo and the NDSU fan base Saturday night. Reports leaked around 8:30 p.m. on NDSU head football coach Craig Bohl taking the lead coaching vacancy at Wyoming.
Through social media, many reports confirmed the statement. CBS Sports’ Bruce Feldman first tweeted the Cowboys will announce Bohl as its new head coach Sunday. It wasn’t confirmed until Bohl made the announcement on his weekly television show at 10:30 a.m. Sunday.
“There were discussions that were ongoing during the course of the week,” Bohl said on the show. “I had very limited contact at all. My thought was to do everything we could to get our football team prepared to beat Furman and I think the results showed that.”
Bohl has led the Bison from a Division II program to back-to-back FCS national championships and in strong contention for a third straight in just 11 years at NDSU. His success against FBS schools, including a season opening upset at Kansas State, has made Bohl a hot commodity when coaching vacancies open up.
But Bohl seemed to put those fears away last year, signing an 8-year contract extension. His high success rate, though, was attributed to his reason for accepting the job at Wyoming.
“There comes a point when you look and say the program has gone as far as what I, as a head football coach, can take that program,” Bohl said. “No one really knows that other than the head football coach. There’s lots of dynamics that goes into these decisions. It’s a complicated question.
It’s not an easy answer, but I can tell you that once you feel like your work is completed, and then it’s time for you as the leader to step aside and let somebody else take some chances.”
Wyoming Athletics held a press conference at 6 p.m. central time Sunday for the announcement. Bohl will presumably make three times the salary he currently has at NDSU. But money was never brought up on his coach’s show.
“I personally have always been very comfortable and liked that region of the country,” Bohl said. “My family has gone on many vacations and I’ve traveled out there when I was in grade school and high school. But there is a whole host of things. I do want you to know, though, that this is a very special place at North Dakota State.”
NDSU athletic director Gene Taylor said at Sunday’s press conference that Bohl talked to him the Friday before the Furman game and told him he was in talks with Wyoming, but hadn’t made a decision yet. Then, after the game, Bohl mentioned to Taylor that he had accepted the job.
The leaked reports later Saturday night sent abrupt shock, confusion and disbelief around Twitter, from media members to fans to even players. It was evident the Bison football players first heard of the news via social media and tweeted out their thoughts.
“Please say this is a joke” – Brock Jensen
“At the end of the day I love my team and we need to stay focused for this upcoming game.. It’s about us the love we have for each other” – Bryan Shepherd
“I mean couldn’t they wait to announce this tho?” – Cooper Wahlo Jr.
“Tell me this isn’t true” – Marcus Williams
“To all my Bison teammates please stay off social media tonight” – Cole Jirik
“Too much respect for coach. If this is true I’m glad I was able to play for him. #onceabisonalwaysabison” – Sam Ojuri
Bohl met with his players at 9 a.m. Sunday before his television show. He said he wanted his players to hear from him before he flew to Wyoming to meet with athletic director, Tom Burman, and the team.
Meanwhile, Taylor’s Sunday press conference gave answers to several floating questions.
Taylor said Bohl will finish the season as the head coach of NDSU and all the assistants will stay on staff until the season ends.
“My personal feelings felt that it was best for continuity at this point in time,” Taylor said. “Let the coordinators coordinate and focus on game preparation and game planning.”
Taylor is still working through the timetable as to the replacement of Bohl. He did say it’s possible the new coach could be hired before the season concludes and that some assistant coaches are possible candidates. However, Bohl may have strong interest in bringing his staff members with him to Wyoming.
“I did meet with the staff, I said, ‘you guys need to be committed to this football program and these players until the end of the season. I need your focus on NDSU and nothing else,’” Taylor said. “They all looked at me and committed yes that we’re here now. Now, how many at the end of the season will coach Bohl offer, that’s up to him.”
Taylor said he wasn’t surprised when Bohl told him of his decision. The timeliness of the news wasn’t ideal, but the step up financially and level of football ultimately was more appealing to Bohl.
“Quite frankly, I knew this day was coming,” Taylor said.