In his first official hire as the University of North Dakota head football coach, Bubba Schweigert appointed Paul Rudolph to the position of offensive coordinator on his staff on Thursday. Rudolph brings 23 years of collegiate coaching experience to the program, including 16 as a head coach. He won two conference titles and made two playoff appearances during stops as a head coach at Upper Iowa (1992-2000) and Minot State (2007-2013) and was a successful offensive coordinator at St. Cloud State in between those two stints.
"I'm really excited to have Paul Rudolph join the staff. He has been a successful coach in the upper Midwest for a number of years," Schweigert said. "He has a great offensive mind, but he also understands how a team's offense fits into the total scheme of how you are going to be successful on the football field.
"Coach Rudolph's offensive philosophy fits well with the skill sets that we plan to recruit here to the University of North Dakota and being a North Dakota native, he is very excited to be a part of the staff. He brings with him a strong work ethic, which is one of the most important qualities I'm looking for in the coaches that I decide to bring on board here."
Rudolph's last seven years as a head coach were spent in Minot where he helped lead the Beavers through a transition from the NAIA level to NCAA Division II status. He led MSU to a pair of DAC titles during his tenure in the Magic City and was named the DAC Coach of the Year in his first season in 2007. The Beavers earned a playoff berth in 2009, which was the school's first appearance since 2001.
"I'm humbled, honored and excited. All of those emotions wound up into one ball," Rudolph said. "My truest connection with Coach Schweigert was as competitors in the old North Central Conference days, but I've always had a tremendous amount of respect for him and thought he possessed one of the better minds in football. I'm really looking forward to coming to work for him there at UND."
A Stanley, N.D., native, the coaching veteran earned Schweigert's respect when the two squared off against each during their respective NCC tenures. Rudolph was the offensive coordinator and offensive line coach at St. Cloud State from 2000-2006 when Schweigert was the defensive coordinator at UND and head coach at Minnesota-Duluth.
"His offenses were always physical and very difficult to defend when we were going up against him at St. Cloud State," Schweighert added. "What made them difficult and what I thought he did a very good job of was tutoring his quarterbacks. They took care of the football and were very good decision makers.
"The other thing he brought to the offensive game was a physical, balanced-attack. If you stopped one area of the offense, he was going to attack you with the other one. He was a difficult coach to prepare for."
While with the Huskies, Rudolph's offense broke 26 single-season school records and 21 more single-game records. He helped lead SCSU to the NCAA Division II playoffs in 2004 and a 2002 North Central Conference title.
Before moving onto SCSU, Rudolph spent 10 seasons at Upper Iowa, including the last eight as the Peacocks head coach. He was named the Iowa Intercollegiate Athletic Conference Coach of the Year in 1992 when his team's offense ranked second nationally with 456.8 yards per game. Rudolph also served as the athletics director at Upper Iowa from 1996-2000.
A day after naming his offensive coordinator, University of North Dakota head football coach Bubba Schweigert appointed Eric Schmidt to the post of defensive coordinator on his staff. Schmidt is no stranger to Schweigert or UND, having spent the last six seasons as a pupil of UND's first-year head coach during his time at Southern Illinois and excelling for him as a player at his alma mater from 1997-2001.
"Eric Schmidt is one of the top, young defensive minds in the game, especially when it comes to a 3-4 defense. He had a lot of responsibility down at Southern Illinois for us and I have a lot of confidence in him," Schweigert said. "And that is not only as a defensive coordinator, but as a leader overall.
"We sat in his living room as a high school senior and he told us he was coming to UND so we can win a national championship. That was his focus and I just believe as a player, he never lost that focus and he was going to do everything within his power to lead our team and keep us on that path. He has the same type of passion as a coach and the last six years I have leaned on him a lot as we coached and implemented our defensive philosophy at SIU."
As Schweigert mentioned, the Mandan, N.D., native was key a performer as a team captain and senior linebacker on the defense that helped lead UND to a Division II national title in 2001 and has been equally important as a staff member for his SIU defense that has ranked near the top of the Missouri Valley Conference in a number of categories during their tenure in Carbondale.
"UND is a special place and I am really excited to get back there," Schmidt said. "I really appreciate the opportunity Coach Schweigert has given me. I am anxious to get started and make a difference. I think that is really what sold me on coming back. I am eager to get things started and move forward."
In six seasons on Dale Lennon's staff at SIU (2007-13), Schmidt coached the defensive line and both sets of linebackers before being elevated to special teams coordinator for the past two seasons. He was also in charge of the inside linebackers during his finals two seasons and helped a 2012 defensive unit record a pair of shutouts and rank 10th nationally in rushing yards allowed. He coached nine All-Missouri Valley Conference players during his time at SIU, including one first-teamer in 2013.
Schmidt's first collegiate coaching job came as an assistant coach at his alma mater from 2006-07 for Lennon before both moved onto SIU. Schmidt began his football coaching career at nearby Crookston High School where he was the head coach for the Pirates from 2002-2005.
— Go UND —