UPDATED: Bison name defensive coordinator Matt Entz next head football coach

According Yahoo Sports, North Dakota State defensive coordinator Matt Entz will be named as the Bison's next head coach. David Samson / The Forum

FARGO — The vacancy was short-lived. North Dakota State moved quickly and named defensive coordinator Matt Entz as its next head football coach Thursday on the eve of the Division I FCS semifinal playoff game against South Dakota State.

Entz will replace Chris Klieman, who accepted the head coaching position at Kansas State on Monday and was formally introduced in Manhattan, Kan., on Wednesday. Klieman will continue to coach NDSU through the playoffs.

The 46-year-old Entz, from Waterloo, Iowa, will formally be introduced on Monday. The Bison and Jackrabbits will play for the ticket to the national title game Friday night at 7 at Gate City Bank Field at the Fargodome.

Entz has recruiting obligations over the weekend. National signing day is next Wednesday and the Bison to date have 25 verbal commitments.


“I am unbelievably excited to get going and start the process of becoming the next head coach at NDSU,” Entz said in a statement.

Entz has been the Bison defensive coordinator for five seasons. The Bison are ranked second in scoring defense in the FCS this season, allowing 11.1 points per game.

In Entz, NDSU will most likely not see many changes in style of play. Klieman hired him as the Bison defensive coordinator and linebackers coach for the 2014 season.

“Great things happen to great people, and I am so happy for the Entz family,” Klieman said in a university statement. “Matt is the right guy for the job. I know the Bison will have unbelievable success. The program is in great hands.”

Since the school made the Division I transition, NDSU has gone the defensive route with its head coaches. Craig Bohl was a defensive coordinator at the University of Nebraska before taking the NDSU top job in 2003. Klieman was the NDSU defensive coordinator before being promoted to head coach when Bohl left for Wyoming after the 2013 season.

“I just think for some reason a defensive-minded head coach works better in Fargo,” said former Bison defensive tackle Nate Tanguay. “Whether it’s the mentality of the players we get, or the small-town hard-working guys or the big-city guys who have that edge to them, it’s exactly what we need in the program and that’s what he brings to the table.”

All signs during the week pointed to Entz. NDSU President Dean Bresciani said Wednesday the process was down to a small pool of candidates with each being "very familiar with NDSU." That came a couple of days after Bresciani told The Forum he wanted the head coach to be named sooner than later.


Other possible candidates were assumed to be former Bison assistant coaches Tim Polasek and Brent Vigen. Polasek is the offensive line coach at Iowa and Vigen is the offensive coordinator at Wyoming. Neither were formally interviewed.

Entz had the advantage of being under the watchful eye of NDSU athletic director Matt Larsen, who along with Bresciani made the announcement on Thursday.

“Having watched Matt as the defensive coordinator for the past five years,” Larsen said, “I knew he possessed the qualities to be the head football coach at North Dakota State — leadership, integrity, toughness and a sincere appreciation for the history and tradition of Bison football.”

Former Bison players gave their two thumbs-up. Tanguay, who finished his career last season, said about the only weakness his former defensive coordinator possesses is “he cares too much.”

“He’s a guy who is so well-deserving,” Tanguay said. “He worked his butt off. Great man and he’ll bring the same moral characteristics the last five six years as coach Klieman did. He’s the best because you could relate to him so much. You could go in there and talk to him. He cares so much about his guys and he’ll go to bat for any of his players.”

Other former Bison players took to Twitter to offer their acceptance of the naming of Entz. Punter Ben LeCompte said it’s “refreshing to know Bison football is in good hands. Looking forwards to many great years to come.”

Linebacker Nick DeLuca, now with the Jacksonville Jaguars, said he couldn’t be happier for Entz.

“Best coach, mentor and role model you can ask for,” DeLuca tweeted.


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