Kish gets nod to replace Maughan as Bison wrestling coach
FARGO - Forty-seven years later, an unproven head coach with not a lot of experience is taking over the North Dakota State wrestling program. In a lot of ways, Roger Kish is like Bucky Maughan. NDSU tabbed the 27-year-old Kish to replace the lege...
FARGO - Forty-seven years later, an unproven head coach with not a lot of experience is taking over the North Dakota State wrestling program.
In a lot of ways, Roger Kish is like Bucky Maughan.
NDSU tabbed the 27-year-old Kish to replace the legendary Maughan on Thursday. He's just three years removed from graduating from the University of Minnesota and is only the fourth coach in the program's 54 years.
"I think Bucky and I share a lot of the same visions and values on the mat," Kish said. "Again, working with him the last couple of years, he's taught me a lot how to be a successful coach and how to help our wrestlers reach the highest potential."
Kish spent one season as a graduate assistant at Minnesota and the last two as an NDSU assistant. A native of Lapeer, Mich., he was a two-time All-American with the Gophers. He and athletic director Gene Taylor have agreed in principle to a two-year contract with a starting salary of $65,000.
Taylor said he was impressed with Kish's growth the last two years as a Bison assistant and said Kish's tenacity and energy were obvious to the selection committee. Plus, Taylor said Kish had the support of the returning Bison wrestlers.
"As a team, we got to see the top three candidates," said junior Justin Solberg, a team captain for the upcoming season. "We discussed the pros and cons and we all felt like Kish was ready to take the program in both the short term and long term to where it needs to be. Five, 10 years down the road, I want us to be a top-10 team in the country. I know Kish can do that."
The other Bison assistant originally in the coaching search mix, Bret Maughan, will be retained, Kish said. A search will start for the second assistant.
Kish said he and Bret Maughan said they would support each other depending on the outcome of the search.
"It's been quite the process the last six weeks, especially within our program and our building," Kish said. "It was a difficult process with both of us running for the position. But we talked and we said we were going to be open and honest."
The other two finalists were Lockhaven (Pa.) head coach Robbie Waller and Nebraska assistant Tony Ersland. Of the three finalists, only Waller had head coaching experience, and that is his two years at Lockhaven.
Bucky Maughan was just out of college from Minnesota State Moorhead when he got the NDSU job. Kish said his former boss taught him all phases of the program, whether it be on the mat or with the budget.
"As long as we only have to hire a wrestling coach once every 47 years," Taylor quipped, "we'll be in good shape."
Forum reporter Jeff Kolpack can be reached at (701) 241-5546. Kolpack's NDSU media blog can be found at www.areavoices.com/bisonmedia