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Montana State names Brent Vigen, former Central Valley, NDSU standout, as its new football coach

Vigen was the offensive coordinator at Wyoming before taking Montana State position

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North Dakota State University football assistant coach Brent Vigen, left, runs through drills with Ryan Stanford during practice Thursday morning, August 11, 2011 in Fargo, N.D. Carrie Snyder / The Forum

BOZEMAN, Montana — Montana State has chosen former North Dakota State assistant coach Brent Vigen to be the Bobcats' new head coach, a source told the Bozeman Daily Chronicle. Multiple outlets reported the news first, as well.

Vigen did not immediately respond to the Chronicle’s requests for comment. MSU later in the day announced the hiring Monday, Feb. 8.

A source said Monday afternoon Montana State was expecting to finalize a deal with a candidate later in the day, pending negotiations. Bobcat players were also informed of the hire Monday.

"I'm excited to welcome Coach Vigen and his family, Molly, Jake, Grant and Luke, to the Bobcat family," MSU athletic director Leon Costello said in a press release. "Brent brings a strong pedigree that has led to national championships in the FCS and tremendous success at Wyoming, and has a nationally known reputation for identifying and developing NFL-caliber quarterbacks. I'm looking forward to working with Brent to build on the recent success of Bobcat Football. I also want to thank President Cruzado, the search committee and the student-athletes involved for their help throughout this process."

Vigen, Wyoming’s offensive coordinator, associate head coach and quarterbacks coach, will replace Jeff Choate, who left to become a co-defensive coordinator and inside linebackers coach at the University of Texas.

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Vigen has coached with the Cowboys since 2013. Vigen, from Buxton, N.D., was NDSU’s offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach under current Wyoming head coach Craig Bohl from 2009-13. Vigen’s first coaching job was at NDSU in 1998.

Vigen has helped recruit and develop quarterbacks like Carson Wentz (NDSU) and Josh Allen (Wyoming), who are both in the NFL. Vigen also helped recruit former Bison quarterback Easton Stick before Vigen left for Wyoming.

Wentz plays for the Philadelphia Eagles, Allen plays for the Buffalo Bills and Stick plays for the Los Angeles Chargers.

Vigen also coached former NDSU quarterback Brock Jensen, who led the Bison to three consecutive NCAA Division I FCS national championships (2011, 2012, 2013). Jensen was the winningest quarterback in FCS history when he left NDSU. Stick later eclipsed Jensen's career QB wins record.

North Dakota State's Brock Jensen and coach Brent Vigen pose for photos Saturday, Jan. 5, 2013, after the FCS Division I championship game at FC Dallas Stadium in Frisco, Texas. Forum file photo

Vigen played football for NDSU from 1993-1997 and started at tight end during his final two seasons. He played on three Division II playoff teams for the Bison.

Vigen was hired after multiple other candidates withdrew from Montana State’s head coaching search.

Matt Lubick, Nebraska’s offensive coordinator and receivers coach, turned down the MSU head coaching job after interviewing earlier this month. Lubick likely would have had to take a sizable pay cut from his current $500,000 salary, down from Choate’s base salary of $206,000 at MSU.

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Last week, sources said Ken Wilson, Oregon’s linebackers coach, became MSU’s new primary target. However, Wilson was offered a raise and a promotion to co-defensive coordinator to remain at Oregon.

A source told the Chronicle last weekend Montana State’s search committee began lining up an interview with another candidate, though it was unclear when that discussion took place or with who.

A source also said former MSU assistant Jason McEndoo, now a tight ends and running backs coach at Oklahoma State, decided to drop out of MSU’s hiring process. He had previously expressed interest in leading the Bobcats. His son, Luke McEndoo, signed with Oklahoma State as a preferred walk-on recently.

Last week, Bruce Feldman of FOX Sports reported Tim Drevno was a “strong candidate” to be MSU’s head coach. Drevno was the Bobcats' tight ends coach from 1993-95 and running backs coach from 1996-97. He was USC’s offensive line coach the last two seasons and running backs coach and running game and pass protection coordinator the year before. He was Michigan’s offensive coordinator for three years after serving as an assistant at USC in 2014. The result of Drevno’s candidacy is unclear.

MSU officials have declined to comment on the hiring process.

Related Topics: FOOTBALL
Peterson covers college athletics for The Forum, including Concordia College and Minnesota State Moorhead. He also covers the Fargo-Moorhead RedHawks independent baseball team and helps out with North Dakota State football coverage. Peterson has been working at the newspaper since 1996.
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