Hazelton to USC; Klieman named defensive coordinator at NDSU

FARGO - North Dakota State lost its defensive coordinator to Southern Cal, but Bison head coach Craig Bohl didn't waste any time in naming a successor.

Scottie Hazelton
Scottie Hazelton is seen in this Forum file photo.

FARGO - North Dakota State lost its defensive coordinator to Southern Cal, but Bison head coach Craig Bohl didn't waste any time in naming a successor.

Defensive backs coach Chris Klieman will take over for Scottie Hazelton, who will be the linebackers coach at USC. Bohl immediately promoted Klieman, who came to NDSU prior to this season from Northern Iowa, where he was a defensive coordinator.

Hazelton was in charge of a unit that led the Division I Football Championship Subdivision in scoring defense. The Bison gave up just one touchdown in the last three playoff games en route to a Football Championship Subdivision national title.

His link to the USC job and head coach Lane Kiffin may have been bolstered by connections to former NDSU coaches, most notably former Bison defensive coordinator Gus Bradley, who worked with Monte Kiffin, Lane Kiffin's father, when both were at Tampa Bay.

Monte Kiffin is the assistant head coach at USC.


Bradley is now the defensive coordinator with the Seattle Seahawks, under former USC head coach Pete Carroll. Also in Seattle is former NDSU defensive line coach Todd Wash, who spent time at Tampa Bay with Bradley and Monte Kiffin.

The USC linebackers job opened when Joe Barry accepted the same position with the San Diego Chargers. Barry, like Bradley and Wash, also coached at Tampa with Monte Kiffin.

Moreover, former NDSU defensive coordinator Willie Mack Garza resigned last season as the defensive backs coach at USC. All of the aforementioned coaches have experience with the Tampa 2 defense, which has been NDSU's base defense in the nine years Bohl has been the Bison head coach.

Hazelton is the second NDSU assistant to leave for a Pac-12 Conference school. Reggie Moore accepted the UCLA receivers coach in 2008, but has since been let go.

Attempts to reach both Klieman and Hazelton were unsuccessful. Bohl said Hazelton was en route to Los Angeles on Sunday.

Forum reporter Jeff Kolpack can be reached at (701) 241-5546

Kolpack's NDSU media blog can be found at

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Jeff would like to dispel the notion he was around when Johannes Gutenberg invented the printing press, but he is on his third decade of reporting with Forum Communications. The son of a reporter and an English teacher, and the brother of a reporter, Jeff has worked at the Jamestown Sun, Bismarck Tribune and since 1990 The Forum, where he's covered North Dakota State athletics since 1995.
Jeff has covered all nine of NDSU's Division I FCS national football titles and has written three books: "Horns Up," "North Dakota Tough" and "Covid Kids." He is the radio host of "The Golf Show with Jeff Kolpack" April through August.
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