The Final Two

The final two candidates for the UND Head Coaching Position have been announced.  Former UND Defensive Coordinator (DC)/Current Southern Illinois DC Kyle “Bubba” Schweigert and former Sioux Falls Head Coach/Current Southern Illinois OC Kalen Deboer are now locked in a ‘Saluki-Shootout’ to see who is the next head coach in Grand Forks.

We fully expect the new head coach to be named by Monday, December 23rd, at the very latest.  Frankly, there is no reason for it to go past Christmas.  The only concerning thing timeline wise is that Schweigert is not due on campus for his formal interview until this weekend with Deboer coming sometime soonafter (we assume).  That means Deboer could be leaving the same day that they announce the new head coach.  Or maybe he will be staying for the press conference, who knows.  Why they couldn’t have had the interviews today and tomorrow are a real mystery to us.  If there were issues with getting plane tickets, I know of a handful of university-owned planes about 10 miles west of town that could easily have picked them up.

Bubba Schweigert File

Current:  Defensive Coordinator at Southern Illinois.

Schweigert is known by all UND football fans.  He was the longtime secondary coach/defensive coordinator at UND from 1985-2003.  Schweigert led some of the best defense’s in UND history, including the national championship defense in 2001.  After UND Schweigert took over the reigns as head coach at Minnesota-Duluth from 2004-2007.  His career record at Duluth was 22-21, including an NCC championship and playoff berth in 2005.  Many give credit to Schweigert for recruiting the majority of the players that ended up winning the national championship at Duluth just one year after he left, with a second national championship only 2 years after that.

At Southern Illinois, Schweigert’s defense’s have been decent overall, not dominating but not bad either.  This past year they finished 5th in scoring defense in MVFC, giving up 25.2 per game.   Their best year was in 2009, giving up 15.2 pts/game.

Schweigert will bring a face to the program and even more importantly, he will bring discipline and standards.  We love the fact that he has been a head coach before and has gone through the growing pains that come with learning how to lead your own program.  He has a deep understanding and respect for how the state of North Dakota works and operates.  Schweigert understands the culture and high school coaches across the region will have an instant connection.

Kalen Deboer File

Current:  Offensive Coordinator at Southern Illinois.

Like Schweigert, Deboer has also won a national championship – three, to be exact.  Prior to be heading to Southern Illinois, Deboer led his alma mater, Sioux Falls College, to the NAIA National Championship in 2006, 2008, and 2009.  Most UND fans will reluctantly remember Sioux Falls as the team that came in to the Alerus Center in 2009 and beat UND 28-13.  Deboer had a career record of 67-3 at Sioux Falls.  He spent his entire coaching career there, beginning in 1997 as an assistant and then taking over as the OC in 2000 until becoming the head coach in 2005.   Deboer took over for longtime HC Bob Young, who built the program into a national NAIA powerhouse.

At Southern Illinois, Deboer’s offense’s have been a mixed bag.  2010 was his best year as the OC with his offense averaging 30 pts/game.  Deboer’s offenses have typically finished in the middle of the pack in the MVFC.

The question regarding Deboer is how he can perform under ‘normal’ NCAA restricions standards as a head coach.  We all know about the academic standard and scholarship advantages he had as an NAIA Head Coach.  Can he recruit and be successful on and off the field in that environment?  Probably.  But it is an issue anytime a coach jumps from NAIA/JC to the NCAA environment.

OUR CHOICE:  Given all the variables, and regardless of how the flawed process played out in the end, it is our opinion that the Zeeland, ND native is the best man for the job at UND.  Bubba Schweigert has our endorsement and support.

22 Responses

  1. RD17

    Faison has screwed this entire thing up in a big way. There is no reason this should have drug on this long especially if his “national search” was only going to net two finalists that any of the rest of us had pegged as candidates months ago. His experience as an AD is at schools (Indiana State and New Mexico State) with garbage football programs and he apparently is trying to replicate that experience at UND. Ridiculous.

  2. crb1

    I have to say I am disappointed in the two finalists and really thought the best man for the job would have been Robin Pflugard.

  3. UND92,96

    Rumor has it Faison reached out to DeBoer and asked him to apply, but did not do the same with Caruso. Have you heard anything along these lines?

  4. Brant

    I have to disagree and say the “Bubba” does not have “our” endorsement and support. UND needs to get away from the good ol boys club. We need new blood, a new philosophy and not the same old thing UND has been doing for the past 20 years. That included moving on from a 3-4 defense which Bubba still runs. Deboer is young and fired up. He will bring discipline and a winning attitude! He has my support. We need a CHANGE!!! That means someone with NO UND TIES!!!!

    1. We certainly are not claiming to be “the” voice of UND fans. Bubba is our endorsement and we will see how it turns out. Deboer will be a head coach eventually, but we don’t think it will be in GF.

      1. Brant

        I sure hope “we” is wrong. I think grand forks needs something new. It wouldn’t hurt to having something new.

    2. Adam

      Strongly disagree. The foundations of UND’s most successful programs were built by people with UND ties. No doubt in my mind Bubba would do a great job. That said I’d be happy with either.

  5. SIOUX94

    I too, would have rather seen more finalists, but with that, were either Bubba or Kyle the recruiting coordinator at SIU? And if they were what kind of job did they do in that regard? I have two concerns no matter who the coach is, recruiting and a viable staff of assistant coaches. Which of these two candidates will be able to excel in these important areas. That is what should determine who the next coach is, not who is the best “face of the program”.

  6. Den

    Totally disappointed and unenthusiastic about either of these two. If these two are the best of 70 plus applicants then the job did not attract the level of coaching needed. Probably has to do with pay, location, and playing second fiddle to hockey. No one in Minnesota gives Bubba credit for the championships at Duluth. Nielson was a very good coach at Eau Claire before going to Duluth and 2 years ago would have been the best bet for the UND job, BUT Faison missed that opportunity too. The time that this took tells me that Faison is not totally happy with what he ended up with either. Time will tell. At my age I doubt I will ever see UND in the FCS playoffs and for sure will not make any travel plans to see a game home or away until I see some seriously positive movement in the program.

  7. Siouxfan46

    What with North Dakota’s required openness in the state employee job interview process, will we have access to how far applicants, like Pflugard and others, got in the process and why they were eliminated?

  8. NOLA

    I think most folks find it odd that we are having to wait until next week for interviews with the “final 2”. I believe I read somewhere that applications will be accepted until the position is filled. Is it possible that a third-hand picked candidate will be applying over the weekend while no one is paying attention?

  9. Donn in Brainerd

    Disappointed in the process, timing and results. Faison has blown this in every way. Undersupported football financially since he’s been AD. Now a national search gets us 2 guys from the same school, neither of which has been overly impressive the last few years. I guess he’s not really a football guy and it shows. I remain convinced Mussman should have gotten one more year, and some of the financial support Faison is now willing to provide Sioux football……………finally. We had such a green staff last year and real good last couple recruiting classes. We needed to be a little more patient and financially supportive. Too late now, the UND football program is blown up, at least in the short term. It’s going to be a few rough years ahead, but I won’t miss a game if I’m still upright.

  10. David Butler

    Overall I’m disappointed in what’s occurred with the coaching search as well. While I believe both candidates are good choices, I’m not sold that either are the best candidates for this job and to lead UND into the future. Both Schweigert and DeBoer are a mediocre season of being out of a job at SIU. How are either a step up from where we were? Is this what Faison had in mind when he let go Mussman? Is this the best he thought he could do? I know both are good coaches and good men, but that shouldn’t be the bar for the head coaching job at UND.

    I do believe Pflugard was the best candidate out of the mix by a long shot and I don’t think the “indiscretions” that occured at Montana were a big deal at all. He was the highest level candidate in the mix with proven experience as a head coach in the Big Sky.

    I fear UND is taking a step back. The search has not attracted the caliber of coaches envisioned and the one that was high-level wasn’t even considered. We are already light years behind NDSU and this won’t get us any closer to their level of competition. I hope I’m wrong, but I don’t see any good choices left in this process. Faison has failed on this one and the repercussions are going to be long lasting for the Sioux.

  11. Outsider

    Back in 2003 Bohl was the second coach behind Terry Allen for Gene Taylor.
    He was also the 2nd coach choice for the fans behind Gus Bradley.

    I would say it all worked out in the end for all 3 parties

  12. UND #1 Fan

    Think about this, and open to comment: If they (Bubba or DeBoer) were/are to apply for open positions, would either of these HC finalists get a coordinator or even position coach job down S?

  13. UND supporter

    This program is an embarrassment. I reserve the right to change my opinion if the new hire succeeds, but I’m deeply appalled by this entire process and the way Faison handles himself.

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