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Published August 05, 2009, 12:00 AM

Coach Bohl pops the question

Fiancee is Mojo 104.7’s Ryan Kelly
Their love story started with a bungled radio interview and a crash course in football tactics featuring sugar packets as players. More recently, there was a moonlit marriage proposal featuring lawn chairs and four gift boxes.

By: Mila Koumpilova, INFORUM

Their love story started with a bungled radio interview and a crash course in football tactics featuring sugar packets as players. More recently, there was a moonlit marriage proposal featuring lawn chairs and four gift boxes.

North Dakota State University head football coach Craig Bohl and Mojo 104.7 morning host Ryan Kelly are engaged. And though Kelly says she was caught off guard by Bohl’s recent proposal, the step felt natural.

“There’s an unbelievable friendship; there’s a chemistry,” Kelly said, adding, “He’s the most incredible man I’ve ever met.”

Certainly one of Fargo’s power couples, the 51-year-old coach and 33-year-old radio personality have remained relatively private about their three-year romance until recently.

Dan Michaels, Kelly’s co-host, says he launched a diamond ring watch a couple of months ago on a hunch. On Monday, he finally spotted the ring, a round-cut diamond on a gold band, as Kelly walked toward the studio.

“You could see it from a mile away,” said Michaels, who is also a Bison football announcer. “It lit up the hallway like a disco ball. And she was glowing.”

It was Michaels who introduced Kelly and Bohl six years ago at Fargo’s Paradiso Mexican Restaurant, where Kelly was hosting a live broadcast.

“He had this presence about him,” she recalled. “When he walks into a room, you know it. You feel it.”

After that first brief encounter and a couple of run-ins at community fundraisers, the two didn’t see each other for three years. Then, Bohl offered to come on Kelly’s show at the time to talk about the Bison’s last game of the season against arch-rival South Dakota State University.

She made a last-minute plea to Michaels to fill her in on the game. Still, she got the name of the opposing team wrong on air and fumbled her way through the chat.

“Boy, did I botch this interview,” she said. “It was so bad I resolved never to talk about sports on the air again.”

Bohl gave her tickets to the game. When he called to ask what she thought of his team, she had to confess she’d skipped the game. Then, over lunch, she also admitted she had never been to a football game and didn’t particularly understand the sport.

Bohl, a Great West Football Conference Coach of the Year, explained the game, with sugar packets as stand-ins for players.

Kelly says the couple grew close quickly. Both are extremely driven in their careers, yet make family a priority. Kelly has a 4-year-old son from a previous marriage. Bohl has twin daughters and a son.

They like making dinner together and going on trips, on his Harley-Davidson or in the Mooney airplane he pilots. And now, Kelly goes to all Bison home games and most away games.

But they’ve avoided making a fuss about their relationship. When Kelly and Michaels occasionally mentioned her love life on the air, Bohl was merely her unnamed “boyfriend.”

“She guards the coach’s private life jealously,” Michaels said. “She doesn’t chat about it too much.”

That changed on Monday’s morning show, when Kelly announced her engagement to Bohl on air.

It had happened a little over a week earlier, in Minnesota lakes country where the couple was relaxing on lawn chairs after a long day. It was a little after midnight, and Bohl announced he was going to fetch a present for Kelly, which confused her because his birthday was a day away.

He brought a package roughly the size of a shoebox. In it was another box. And another one. And then a small wooden box, with the ring in it.

“Oh, my gosh!” Kelly said. “This is for real. Yes, yes, yes!”

On Tuesday, Bohl was immersed in preparation for the opening of the new football season today. “I am excited about being engaged,” he said through a spokesman, who added that as the head coach is wont to do, he thought this move through carefully.

The couple is planning an intimate wedding ceremony in February.

“They’re a dynamite duo,” Michaels said. “They’re probably Fargo’s No. 1 celebrity couple now that the word is out.”


Readers can reach Forum reporter Mila Koumpilova at (701) 241-5529

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