Kindred Vikings name Eric Burgad as new head football coach

Burgad, who replaces Matt Crane as head coach, has been with the Kindred program as a defensive coordinator since 2014 and was a part of the Vikings' 2021 state title win.

Eric Burgad will take over the Kindred Vikings football program starting with the 2023 football season.
Kindred Public School

KINDRED — The Kindred Vikings will enter the 2023 football season this fall under new leadership as Eric Burgad was named head coach for the program in a May 8 press release.

Burgad replaces Matt Crane — who parts ways with Kindred after accepting a position as an AD at Bismarck High — as head coach of the Vikings program.

“I am beyond excited,” said Burgad. “I’ve been able to coach with this program in Kindred since 2014. I’ve spent a lot of time with coach Crane and the rest of our staff just building it, building our culture and getting our program where we feel confident in how we coach kids. I feel we’re in a good spot right now.”

Burgad — an assistant principal at Kindred elementary school — has been a part of the Vikings football program as defensive coordinator since 2014 and was a part of the school’s first state title win in 2021.

Burgad is a graduate of both Minnesota State University Moorhead where he earned his master’s degree in educational leadership and Valley City State University where he earned his bachelor’s degree in elementary education.


Kindred players ready for introductions before kickoff against Lisbon at Jerlow Field in Kindred on Friday, August 19, 2022.
David Samson/The Forum

While he has years of experience under his belt, the head coach position brings new responsibilities to Burgad.

“I think the one thing that will be new to me is just game management,” he said. “It’s not very often throughout the course of a game where I’d be thinking about when we’d be calling timeouts and stuff like that. So that will definitely be a bit of a learning curve.”

Burgad added off-field responsibilities such as communication with players and parents, team meals and other administrative duties associated with the position that will also come with the job.

“I’ve learned from someone who is really good at that stuff in coach Crane,” Burgad said. “I think I’ll be ready for that.”

As Crane hands over the reins of the program he led since 2014, including coaching the team to its first state title in 2021, he is confident that Burgad is the right choice for the position.

“I have no reservations that he will step in and take over and be a great leader because he’s done a tremendous job on our staff since he walked through the door here,” said Crane. “When I accepted (the position in Bismarck), I was concerned and wanted to be sure that the football program would be in good hands and I was hopeful that Eric would be the one that would want to take it. He was and I am extremely happy and looking forward to seeing all the things he can do with it.”

Kindred head coach Matt Crane fires passes to his receivers during drills during morning football practice in Kindred on Thursday, Aug. 11, 2022.
David Samson/The Forum

Crane added that having someone like Burgad who has already built relationships with the students is another bonus of the hire.

“He’s built those relationships and will continue to build those relationships with those kids. He’s done a tremendous job with that,” he said. “The kids will know his expectations from day one because he’s had freedom as the defensive coordinator and an assistant to coach how he wants to coach.”


As for the transition from defensive coordinator to head coach, Crane feels Burgad will adapt well.

“I think he’s going to flourish,” he said. “It’s going to be a really good thing to have a guy like Eric that the kids know and respect already. He’s going to come in and hit the ground running.”

Kindred players huddle up before kickoff against Lisbon at Jerlow Field in Kindred on Friday, August 19, 2022.
David Samson/The Forum

With things finalized, Burgad is ready to get back together with the team and get things rolling for the upcoming football season.

“I think what I’m most excited about is just getting back with the guys,” Burgad said. “It’s been kind of up and down for them to hear that their head coach is going to be somebody new.

“I’m excited for them to have a head coach that they’re familiar with and someone that they’ve put in a ton of work in with and to just get back to work now with that decision made.”

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