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Gophers interested in Bohl

FARGO - Speculation of the University of Minnesota having an interest in North Dakota State head football coach Craig Bohl turned to reality Thursday.

FARGO - Speculation of the University of Minnesota having an interest in North Dakota State head football coach Craig Bohl turned to reality Thursday.

Bison athletic director Gene Taylor said he received a call from a Gopher athletic administrator late Wednesday "expressing interest in Craig as a candidate."

The Minnesota search process is in high gear after the firing of head coach Glen Mason. The Minneapolis Star-Tribune newspaper reported that USC offensive coordinator Lane Kiffin will interview today.

Minnesota has hired a search firm to aid in its quest to find a new coach. It's not certain what there is to make of the fact Taylor got a call directly from a Gopher administrator instead of from the Atlanta-based firm of Baker Parker.

Taylor called the conversation a courtesy call and said he did not know if Bohl would be interviewed by Minnesota officials.

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"Some will say, 'Hey, can I have permission?'" Taylor said. "That really wasn't the call."

Bohl reiterated his stance of not commenting on job issues Thursday.

"I have no comment concerning any potential employment opportunities," Bohl said.

Bohl got the attention of Gopher fans last fall when the NCAA Division I-AA Bison outplayed the Gophers, but lost 10-9 at the Metrodome. The Bison dominated much of the game against Minnesota, piling up a 380-249 advantage in total yardage, a 23-12 margin in first downs and a 10-minute edge in time of possession. The Gophers survived the final play when a 42-yard field goal attempt by NDSU freshman Shawn Bibeau was blocked.

NDSU, which beat Division I-A Ball State earlier in the year, went 10-1 and won the Great West Football Conference.

Two other factors in Bohl's favor: He has a 33-11 overall record and has 18 years experience as a Division I assistant.

Minnesota fired Glen Mason after the Gophers blew a 31-point lead to Texas Tech in the Insight Bowl. It was the biggest comeback in major college bowl history.

Bohl, 48, began is coaching career as a graduate assistant for Nebraska. He moved to assistant coaching positions at NDSU, Tulsa, Wisconsin, Rice and Nebraska. He was the defensive coordinator for the Cornhuskers for three years.

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Bohl was named head coach of NDSU in 2003, the school's first year in Division I-AA. NDSU had been a Division II powerhouse, winning eight national titles.

"Incredible. Great. Just find an adjective," Taylor said of Bohl. "I think this is a tremendous compliment - not only to Craig, but this program, these athletes and his coaches."

The Associated Press contributed to this story.

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