The UND Football program announced yesterday that Defensive Coordinator Mike Mannausau would be leaving to take on a position with the UND Foundation as Champions Club Director, effective immediately.
Mannausau has has 16 years invested in UND Football, with 5 of them being as a player from 1994-98 and 11 of them as a member of the coaching staff. He started as a graduate assistant in 2001 and 2002, and later returned as a full-time assistant in 2004 and has been with the program ever since. The International Falls, MN native has a reputation for having strong alumni ties and relations with football alums and is considered a conduit for former players to the UND program. This obviously lends itself towards being helpful in his new position. Mannausau takes over for recently departed Josh Morton, who left for a position at Michigan State.
What UND loses at Memorial Stadium as a football coach, it gains in a big way at the UND Foundation. We believe Mannausau is a perfect fit for the position and will excel because of his loyalty, personality and popularity with alums in his new role.
There is plenty of talk and speculation on who will replace him as defensive coordintator for 2013 – a very important hire and position given the timing and state of the UND defense in 2012. One obvious candidate in-house is linebackers coach and special teams coordinator Josh Kotelnicki, who has done very well in his variety of roles and responsibilities since his arrival at UND. One outside candidate that is a natural fit would also be former UND player and coach Eric Schmidt, who coaches linebackers and is special teams coordinator for Dale Lennon at Southern Illinois.
One of the first items on Mannausau’s agenda will be to finish off the drive to get shovels in the ground for Indoor Practice Facility. He will also be raising money for scholarships and other priority projects along the way.
Mike Mannausau has made a big impact on UND Football over the course of his 16 years of service, and for that we thank him for everything he has done. However, he is just getting started on another phase of his service that can and no doubt will make an even bigger and lasting impression on the program.