NDSU Magazine logo -Fall 2006

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FALL 2006

Vol. 07, No. 1


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Craig Bohl is in his fourth season as head coach of the North Dakota State University football team. His first full-time coaching position was as the defensive secondary coach for the Bison under Don Morton in 1984 when NDSU finished second in the nation with a 12-1 record. Since then, Bohl has coached on the Division I level for 18 seasons. He was the linebackers coach at Tulsa for two seasons, the linebackers coach at Wisconsin for two seasons, the defensive coordinator at Rice for five years, the linebackers coach and defensive coordinator at Duke for one season, and the linebackers coach at Nebraska for eight years. The final three seasons at Nebraska also included the defensive coordinator duties. His seasons at Nebraska included national championships with a Fiesta Bowl win in 1995 and an Orange Bowl win 1997.

A native of Lincoln, Nebraska, he was a reserve in the Cornhusker secondary from 1977 through 1979 under Tom Osborne and played on NU's 1979 Orange Bowl and 1980 Cotton Bowl teams. He holds a bachelor's degree in business administration from Nebraska.

He is very well respected, and his regard rose after his team played the Big 10 Division 1-A Minnesota Gophers to a 10-9 loss, a competitive game that came down to a field goal with one second remaining, but NDSU's kick was blocked. Coach Bohl made his position clear in the post game press conference: "North Dakota State does not believe in moral victories, and the guys in that locker room do not believe in moral victories."

There's a great deal of satisfaction that I get from helping another person become more than what they think they can become.

When a former player calls you up and says you know what coach I just want to thank you for what you taught me, the person that I am today, you played a part in that. That's the biggest reason why I do it, without question.

Some guys coach in the NFL, some guys choose to coach in college, some guys choose to coach in high school, some guys choose to coach in junior high. We're all at different stages where we're allowed to have an opportunity to have an impact on somebody. For us to go in in the recruiting process and develop a relationship where a young man's parents trust you and they value education and you're going to encourage them and help them become a man, that's why I choose to coach in college.

Part of a competitive nature is you certainly want to go out and play, but you know your compass inside gives you a standard of what things are really important.

Our university is founded on excellence, we're a competitive institution, but our institution does things with integrity. We feel like our football program is a part of our institution and we need to be right in line with that mission and that's why I'm comfortable working here.

Pressure from coaches usually comes from themselves. Where things get out of line is when universities lose perspective of roles in athletics and without question that has gone on in some institutions, and a lot of that is driven strictly by dollars that can be created and then all of a sudden sometimes standards are compromised in the sake of winning. This is why NDSU is a great place to work. We strive for victories but we're not going to do anything that jeopardizes the institution. We're going to do things the right way.

Deep within each person there is a resolve to be successful and there're times when you don't feel like you can accomplish something, but because of the situation you're in, you've taken yourself out of a comfort zone and so that gives you a foundation to say I've been here before I know what it's like to handle pressure, to be in a situation where there's a lot of adversity going on, but I can stay focused to accomplish what I want to accomplish. It just sharpens you as a person. Many times people I've talked to have said the lessons they learned on the gridiron were just as important as the lessons they learned in the classroom. Unless you've been in that arena you may not be able to understand that, but that's why we're part of the educational system here.

Competition brings out the best in a person.

I love fans.

I think what you find is when you've spent yourself, when you've given your best effort, you're going to walk off the field and feel really good about where you're at. That's what we ask of our student athletes in all the things that they do, whether it be in the classroom or on the field.

You go out and you identify people who philosophically are on the same line that you are and you find that the young men who don't identify with our mission here choose not to come to NDSU and that's ok. We end up attracting the guys who have bought into what this institution's about.

I have not gone to work a day in my life yet. Coaching is the only thing that I've done.

Student Focused. Land Grant. Research University.