Of all the assistant coaching vacancies that NDSU has gone through under Craig Bohl, this one has to be the most painless. I’ve heard the head coach say something to the effect that fourth-and-1 with 25 seconds to go doesn’t make him nervous; what makes him nervous is hiring the right guy. That’s where the real pressure is.
With Chris Klieman, things couldn’t have worked out better. Timing is everything and with Klieman becoming available last year, NDSU not only had its defensive backs coach but an experienced coordinator in the Missouri Valley Football Conference at a successful program as well (Northern Iowa).
This is not the first time that Bohl has hired a coordinator immediately after another one left. It took a week for Willie Mack Garza to be named defensive coordinator after Gus Bradley left for Tampa Bay in 2005. The difference between Garza-Bradley and Klieman-Hazelton is that was Garza’s first coordinator job. There must have been some sort of interview process. Klieman, in fact, was probably hired when USC first contacted Hazelton. Plus, this hire came after national signing day; unlike the previous coordinator hires.
When Willie Mack left for New Mexico and days later Tennessee, that was in December. Hazelton wasn’t officially named for a couple of months. In this case and just as important, this coaching change has minimal affect on the players. The defensive guys already know their leader.