North Dakota State University head football coach Craig Bohl received The Sports Network's 2012 Football Championship Subdivision (FCS) Eddie Robinson Coach of the Year Award on Monday, Dec. 17, in Philadelphia after leading the Bison to a 13-1 overall record and second straight NCAA Division I FCS championship game appearance in Frisco, Texas. This is the fourth time he has been a finalist for the prestigious honor.
"This is great recognition for our program. Anyone who understands college football knows the head coach really doesn't have a lot to do with it. It's the assistant coaches, the support staff and the players. I will accept that recognition on behalf of our program. It's not an individual honor. This a collective effort," said Bohl.
Bohl is in his 10th season with an 88-32 overall record including a 23-8 record against nationally-ranked FCS teams and a 9-1 record in the FCS playoffs including the 2011 national championship. He has a 6-3 mark against Football Bowl Subdivision (FBS) teams over the past seven seasons -- including a 22-7 win at Colorado State this season.
"This is a tremendous honor for Coach Bohl and our football program. To receive an award named after one of the all-time great coaches in college football is so meaninful and Craig is certainly deserving of this oustanding recognition," said NDSU director of athletics Gene Taylor.
"Knowing Craig, he would say that this award is more about his assistant coaches and players but I am extremely proud of him for what he has provided to our football program."
With the 88 wins, Bohl is second all-time at the school behind Rocky Hager (91-25-1, 1987-96). He received the Missouri Valley Football Conference's Bruce Craddock Coach of the Year honors for the second straight season after leading the Bison to a 7-1 record and a second straight conference title in 2012. It was the program's 29th league title overall and third since moving to the NCAA Division I FCS.
Bohl was elected to the Board of Trustees of the American Football Coaches Association at the 2012 AFCA Convention in San Antonio, Texas. He was also named the 2011 AFCA Region 4 FCS Coach of the Year.
History was made in 2010 when Bohl led the tradition rich program to its first-ever FCS playoff appearance -- dropping a 38-31 overtime decision at eventual national champion Eastern Washington in the quarterfinals. NDSU also hosted its first NCAA postseason game against Robert Morris in the Fargodome. The Bison compiled a 9-5 record in 2010, a dramatic turnaround from the 3-8 record the year before.
Since making the move to Division I FCS, the football program's performance on the field with the West Coast offense and aggressive defense has rekindled the excitement in the Fargo-Moorhead community, state of North Dakota and the region.
NDSU's average home attendance in the Fargodome has grown from 11,567 in 2003 to a school record 18,516 achieved in 2012. There have been 13 sellouts over the past seven seasons. Capacity is listed at 18,700. The Bison are 52-12 at home over the past 10 years.
Since his arrival, North Dakota State has had eight players earn 11 Academic All-America team honors. Fourteen different players have received All-America honors. A Bison student-athlete has been selected to the Allstate/AFCA Good Works team six times over the past 10 years. NDSU has also received the FCS Athletic Directors Association APR Award several times including the 2010-11 academic year.
In addition, North Dakota State has been ranked in the top five for 41 weeks since moving NCAA Division I FCS including 22 weeks at No. 1.
Bohl's first full-time position was as a secondary coach under Don Morton in 1984 when NDSU finished second in the nation with a 12-1 record. After that Bohl coached on the Division I level for 18 seasons including stops at five different universities -- linebackers coach at Tulsa (1985-86), linebackers coach at Wisconsin (1987-88), defensive coordinator at Rice (1989-93), defensive coordinator/linebackers coach at Duke for one season (1994), and linebackers coach at Nebraska for eight years (1995-2002).
The final three seasons at Nebraska also included the defensive coordinator duties. His seasons at Nebraska included a number of Top 10 defensive national rankings for a team that compiled an 85-18 record including national championships with a Fiesta Bowl win in 1995 and an Orange Bowl win in 1997. A number of athletes who played for Bohl while at Nebraska have played or been drafted in the National Football League.
A native of Lincoln, Nebraska, and 1982 graduate of the University, he was a reserve in the Cornhusker secondary from 1977 through 1979 under coaching legend and mentor Tom Osborne, and played on NU's 1979 Orange Bowl and 1980 Cotton Bowl teams.
Bohl and his wife, Leia, reside in Fargo. He has twin daughters, Mallory and Morgan, and a son, Aaron.