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SDSU football coach John Stiegelmeier announces retirement

Stiegelmeier, the head coach of South Dakota State University football for 26 years, fundamentally changed the Jackrabbit program forever by capping the 2022 season with a national championship.

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South Dakota State head coach John Stiegelmeier, center, holds up the FCS national championship trophy flanked by quarterback Mark Gronowski, left, and offensive lineman Mason McCormick, right, after the Jackrabbits' win over North Dakota State on Sunday, Jan. 8, 2023, at Toyota Stadium in Frisco, Texas.
Landon Dierks / Mitchell Republic
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BROOKINGS, S.D. — John Stiegelmeier is going out on top.

The head coach of South Dakota State University football for 26 years, who fundamentally changed the Jackrabbit program forever by capping the 2022 season with a national championship, has told his team he will retire. The university confirmed the news on Thursday evening, Jan. 19.

Stiegelmeier, 65, finished his 26th season as the Jackrabbits’ head coach with a national championship season on Jan. 8 with a 45-21 win over rival North Dakota State in Frisco, Texas.

It capped a 14-1 season and was win No. 199 in Stiegelmeier’s career, which dates back to 1997 when he took over as head coach for Mike Daly, for whom Stiegelmeier worked as defensive coordinator.

The national coach of the year in 2022 for the FCS, “Coach Stig’s” career record stands at 199-112.

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“I get my emotions and my fulfillment through our players,” Stiegelmeier said following the national title victory. “Honestly, I feel really happy for our program. Maybe it's because they've been doing this so long that you kind of temper the feeling a little bit, but I'm really proud of our program and really happy for our players. And I'm happy for the guys that went before these guys, because they're part of this championship.”

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South Dakota State head football coach John Stiegelmeier speaks to the media at a pre-FCS championship press conference on Friday, Jan. 6, 2023, at Toyota Stadium in Frisco, Texas.
Landon Dierks / Mitchell Republic

Stiegelmeier said in recent weeks that he would make the decision on his coaching future based on what his family wanted, in particular, his wife, Laurie.

"During our 26 years in this role, a lifetime of memories have occurred," Stiegelmeier said in an SDSU announcement. "The support of so many, including three university presidents, numerous assistant coaches, countless student-athletes, two athletic directors and the Jackrabbit fan base has been so special. Thank you to each and every one who have believed in us."

SDSU’s defensive coordinator and assistant head coach Jimmy Rogers is expected to be introduced as the new coach at a Friday morning, Jan. 20, news conference.

"Simply put, South Dakota State University is a better place because of John and Laurie Stiegelmeier," SDSU Athletic Director Justin Sell said. "Their impact goes far beyond wins and losses or championships because of the family culture they have fostered throughout their time here, and by building a program based on character, hard work and excellence in all areas. ... Jimmy Rogers upholds those same values and I'm excited to see him move into this next phase of his coaching career. His vision and plan for the future will allow us to continue to compete for national championships."

Traxler is the assistant editor and sports editor for the Mitchell Republic. He's worked for the newspaper since 2014 and has covered a wide variety of topics. He can be reached at mtraxler@mitchellrepublic.com.
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