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Dragons name 3 finalists for men's basketball head coaching position, including assistant Bergstraser

Minnesota State Moorhead has named three finalists for its head men's basketball opening.

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Minnesota State Moorhead athletic director Chad Markuson named three finalists for the Dragons head men's basketball coaching position Monday, May 2, 2022.
Dave Arntson / MSU Moorhead
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MOORHEAD — Minnesota State University Moorhead is down to three finalists for its men's basketball head coaching job, including one familiar name.

Dragons assistant coach Tim Bergstraser is among the candidates to replace Chad Walthall, who resigned in March after leading MSUM for 12 years.

The other two finalists are Eastern Washington assistant coach Mark Darnall and Hillsdale (Mich.) College associate head coach Keven Bradley. EWU is an NCAA Division I program in the Big Sky Conference. Hillsdale is a Division II program in the Great Midwest Athletic Conference.

“I’m excited about the three finalists," MSUM athletic director Chad Markuson said. "They all bring a little different taste of coaching, they all have great experiences."

The candidates will be on-campus for interviews this week. Markuson, who was named AD late last week, announced the three finalists Monday. Markuson has been with the school since 2011 and was the interim athletic director this school year before being named the permanent replacement for former AD Doug Peters.

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Eastern Washington assistant men's basketball coach Mark Darnall.
EWU Athletics photo

“They impressed the search committee and they impressed me," Markuson said of the finalists. "I was fully engaged in the process the whole time. ... I was excited about the whole applicant pool, the whole process.”

Bergstraser, 31, has been the acting head coach since Walthall stepped down. He was Walthall's assistant for four years and was a graduate assistant at MSUM from 2015-17. Bergstraser spent 2017-18 as an assistant coach at Quincy (Ill.) and was an assistant at Wisconsin-River Falls in 2014-15.

Bergstraser, from St. Cloud, Minn., played college ball at St. Cloud State. At SCSU, Bergstraser made a trip to the NCAA Division II Final Four in the 2009-2010 season.

Bergstraser was an all-Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference player in 2011-2012, averaging 12.8 points per game and grabbing 7.5 rebounds per game. His career was cut short due to three ACL knee surgeries.

Darnall recently completed his first season with Eastern Washington. Prior to that, he was an assistant coach at Chico State in California, Wisconsin-Platteville and UC Davis. Darnall is an Illinois State graduate.

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Hillsdale College associate head coach Keven Bradley.
Hillsdale College Athletics photo

Prior to Hillsdale, Bradley was at Wisconsin-Parkside and Upper Iowa, which is also an NSIC member like the Dragons. He was an assistant coach at Upper Iowa from 2009-13 and graduated from Lawrence University in Wisconsin in 2006.

Markuson had multiple roles in the Upper Iowa athletic department from 2006-2011 before he joined MSUM's athletic department.

Bergstraser is set to interview Tuesday, Bradley on Thursday and Darnall on Friday for their final on-campus interviews. Markuson said the plan is for the search committee to meet earlier next week and to collect feedback before making a determination on the hire.

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“Hiring coaches is one of the most important things that an athletic director does and especially in a high-profile sport like this, it’s probably magnified a little bit more because of that," Markuson said. "I’m excited about the opportunity.”

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Minnesota State Moorhead assistant coach Tim Bergstraser.
Dragons Athletics photo

Peterson covers college athletics for The Forum, including Concordia College and Minnesota State Moorhead. He also covers the Fargo-Moorhead RedHawks independent baseball team and helps out with North Dakota State football coverage. Peterson has been working at the newspaper since 1996.
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