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UND FOOTBALL: Search for next coach is underway

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UND FOOTBALL: Search for next coach is underway
Grand Forks North Dakota 375 2nd Ave. N. 58203

The search for UND's next football coach is underway, as the school's job description for the position has been posted.

How big the pool of candidates will be and who will apply remain to be seen.

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However, a more competitive salary is one area UND already has addressed in the job description.

The minimum hiring salary for the position will be $150,000, a starting point that is roughly $25,000 more than what Chris Mussman received before he was relieved of his duties earlier this week.

"We absolutely have to look at that," said UND athletic director Brain Faison, regarding a more competitive salary.

Among Big Sky Conference schools, UND ranked 11th out of 13 schools in pay for its head football coach in 2013.

The application deadline is Dec. 10, and the position will remain open until filled. But UND wants to have a new coach in place as soon as possible because the program basically has been shut down since Monday, meaning there is no recruiting taking place -- a critical component of every Division I program this time of year.

In the job description, it's clear what UND wants in its next coach. The new coach must have the "ability to develop a nationally competitive NCAA Division I FCS program."

UND wrapped up its second year in the Big Sky Conference with a 2-6 record. In its two years in the league, UND is 5-11.

Of interest in the job description is the highly preferred and strongly preferred qualifications sought by UND.

The highly preferred qualifications:

• One season of Division I experience as head coach or offensive/defensive coordinator; two seasons of Division I FBS/FCS experience as a position coach; or two seasons experience as a Division II or Division III head coach or offensive/defensive coordinator.

The strongly preferred qualifications:

• NFL playing or coaching experience.

Also, CFL playing or coaching backgrounds also are preferred qualifications.

The strongly preferred qualifications tied to NFL playing and coaching backgrounds does lead to speculation about who may apply for the position.

Two names that immediately come to mind are Brooks Bollinger and Tim Tibesar, both fan favorites.

Bollinger, who is in his second season as the Pitt quarterbacks coach, played in the NFL after a standout career at Wisconsin. He is a former Grand Forks Central standout, whose father, Rob, was an assistant coach at UND.

Tibesar is in his first season as the linebackers coach with the Chicago Bears. Tibesar, who was a standout UND linebacker, was an assistant at North Dakota under Dale Lennon. He also was an assistant coach at Kansas State and Purdue.

Faison said there is no timetable for hiring the new coach, other than to make the hire as soon as possible, with the department following all university hiring procedures.

"There are a lot of good things for a new coach coming in," said Faison. "You have a great academic situation for the student athletes. We're in a great conference. And we have the high-performance (practice) facility coming on line. And you also have a pretty good corps group of athletes coming back."

Nelson reports on sports. Call him at (701) 780-1268, (800) 477-6572 ext. 1268 or send e-mail to wnelson@gfherald.com.

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Wayne Nelson
Nelson is the sports editor of the Herald
(701) 780-1268
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