Moving on

It appears doubtful.

Head coaching job

It appears doubtful. But if the University of Minnesota has thoughts of raiding North Dakota State for coaches, it would be more likely to do so in football than basketball.

NDSU football coach Craig Bohl has a resume that is more in line with current Big Ten Conference football coaches, while Bison basketball coach Tim Miles may need more experience at the Division I level.

In either case, research conducted by The Forum reveals that Bohl and Miles are long shots to fill the football and basketball vacancies at Minnesota.

Among the current Big Ten football and basketball coaches, most have climbed the ladder of success. Both Bohl and Miles are climbing, but according to numerous sources, they may be a few years away from landing a big-time job like those at Minnesota.

"I've worked at all levels and in some sense, the job is the same at all levels," said former NDSU football player Gary Barta, now athletic director at Big Ten school Iowa. "But there are differences at the highest level ... media and external pressures, level of competition.


"If two candidates are equal and if one has worked at the highest level, that certainly can be a tiebreaker."

That's what Bohl has working in his favor. Unlike Miles, Bohl has Division I experience with 19 years as an assistant at five different schools - including eight at perennial power Nebraska.

Minnesota athletic director Joel Maturi said finding a football coach is his top priority. He is expected to name one as soon as two weeks to replace Glen Mason, who was fired Dec. 31. The basketball search to replace Dan Monson, who was fired last November, is expected to last at least until the NCAA tournament in March.

With NDSU in only its fourth year of moving from Division II to Division I, its coaches are attracting attention - a lot sooner than Bison athletic director Gene Taylor expected.

"It's just a great statement of what NDSU had been able to accomplish so quickly," Barta said. "When you have success, people are going to come after your staff and coaches."

Taylor said he already has names of possible successors in case Bohl or Miles get a better offer.

"I always felt we are going to be a school - for the lack of a better term - a training ground for coaches to make it to a higher level," Taylor said. "Nobody has left but they've been talked about. Fortunately, we've been able to keep them but how long that will continue, I don't know."

ower division coach can be a 'hard sell'


When the University of San Diego's Jim Harbaugh was named the head coach at Stanford University last month, it was the first time since 2002 that a Division I Football Championship Subdivision (formerly Division I-AA) coach gota Bowl Subdivision (formerly I-A) job.

The last was Joe Glenn, who went from Montana to the University of Wyoming in 2002, according to Matt Dougherty of The Sports Network.

"It's pretty rare," he said.

That doesn't bode well for Bohl, who has been the head coach atNDSU since 2003. His 10-1 recordthis year and 33-11 overall record looks good, but he hasn't had a chance to impress anybody inthe playoffs because NDSU is ineligible due to its Division I reclassification.

The poster child for Championship Subdivision promotion is Jim Tressel. The Ohio State coach came from Youngstown State (Ohio). But Tressel also won four Division I-AA national championships and had a15-year record of 135-57-2.

In one respect, it's a risk to hire a coach from a lesser division. Fans tend to like the immediate gratification of a well-known big name.

"It's been a hard sell to fan bases of bigger programs," Dougherty said. "It's hard to get them to buy into believing a coach from a Championship Subdivision program can have success at a big-time program."

The Gophers are taking a big-time approach to their football hire. Minnesota is using a private firm to aid in the coaching search. It makes it easier for the school to conduct its business in private and for coaches who are contacted to keep their name out of the public arena. It's especially important with recruiting in full force.


Signing day is Feb. 7.

So if Bohl has been contacted, not many people know.

"I've said all along I'm never going to comment on any possible job at any school," Bohl said. "My interest is with North Dakota State. It's a consistent stance I've had and am always going to have. It's part of the nature of the business."

Taylor said he doesn't know if Bohl is a candidate.

"Craig is not even talking about it," Taylor said. "It's not even in our discussions."

There are many discussions - mostly speculation - as to Mason's successor. Bohl was listed as one of several early candidates by the Minneapolis Star-Tribune newspaper. It didn't hurt that NDSU almost beat the Gophers this fall, losing 10-9.

Still, Maturi appears to have a crowded list of candidates. The name most often mentioned in the last couple of days is Wisconsin offensive coordinator Paul Chryst.

"There are a ton of people on the list and I think they're willing to listen to anybody," said Chip Scoggins, the Gophers beat writer for the Star-Tribune.


Scoggins said two priorities in the coaching search are to find somebody who can do a better job of in-state recruiting and somebody who can sell the program. Those are two factors that plagued Mason.

"Right now, it's all media speculation," Taylor said.

Miles, with stints at Southwest Minnesota State and Mayville State prior to NDSU, has 11 seasons of head coaching experience at the college level. The average among current Big Ten basketball coaches - prior to breaking into the league - is seven years.

Miles did not want to comment on another position. He garnered national attention with upsets over Wisconsin and Marquette during the last two seasons and turned down the head coaching job at North Carolina-Wilmington last spring.

But according to ESPN college basketball analyst Jay Bilas, it's going to take more than a few upsets for Miles to land a Big Ten coaching job.

"It's whether a team can win its league and whether they can be consistently good again and again," Bilas said.

Like Monson, who prior to coming to Minnesota led Gonzaga teams to the NIT and the Elite Eight of the NCAA tournament. And like Thad Matta, who coached an Xavier team to an Elite Eight appearance and a Butler team into the NCAA second round before going to Ohio State.

Division I experience is also a plus - something Miles is lacking right now.


Bruce Weber had only five years of head coaching experience before going to Illinois. But he served 18 seasons as an assistant under Purdue's Gene Keady. Bill Carmody had only four years of head coaching experience before going to Northwestern. But he served 14 seasons as an assistant under Princeton's Pete Carril.

Connections also help when becoming a big-time head coach.

Matt Painter, the 36-year-old head coach at Purdue, had only one year of head coaching experience before being named the Boilermaker coach three years ago. But, Painter was an assistant for six years at Southern Illinois under Weber (Illinois' current coach) and he played at Purdue.

Tom Izzo, the dean of Big Ten coaches, had no head coaching experience before Michigan State. But Izzo - a Michigan native - was an assistant for 12 years at Michigan State. Penn State's Ed DeChelli graduated from that school and was an assistant there for 11 years.

"I want someone who is a fit ... someone who wants to be at my school," Barta said.

Then there is the big-name factor.

Steve Alford, an All-American player at Indiana, has been Iowa's head coach for eight seasons. Tommy Amaker, an All-American at Duke, is in his sixth season at Michigan.

And Kelvin Sampson, in his first season at Indiana, was a successful head coach at Oklahoma for 12 years and Washington State for 7 years.


Big names like Bobby Knight, Flip Saunders and Rick Majerus have been mentioned for the Gophers basketball job. What direction will Minnesota go - a proven big name or a rising star?

Readers can reach Forum reporters Jeff Kolpack at (701) 241-5546 or and Kevin Schnepf at (701) 241-5549 or

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