So Kansas is looking for a head football coach and allow me to give a little advice: look for somebody who can do a lot with a little, in this case a guy who has not been spoiled by the riches of the NFL or a hot shot assistant from a Power 5 conference program. My media friends in the Twin Cities are promoting Gopher assistant Tracy Claeys, which could be a good choice since they say he’s a small-town Kansas guy. I’m taking that to mean he’d build the program the blue-collar way.
Western Illinois appears to have gotten it right in its head coach, hiring Bob Nielson from Division II Minnesota-Duluth. I suppose WIU could have found some lower-end assistant from an FBS but instead chose to go with a guy who has built programs everywhere he’s been. Duluth won two D2 national titles.
WIU athletic director Tommy Bell, when he was a fundraising guy at Southern Illinois, saw that model work with Jerry Kill, who was at a D2 for over a decade before getting the SIU job. SIU back then, by the way, was horrible, and Kill made it a national title contender.
“You get hot shots from other programs, and nothing against them, but they’ve been spoiled and are used to having nobody say no to them and not having limited budgets,” Bell told me earlier today. “Here, it’s different in the FCS. We all have limited budgets, even the Bison — they don’t have an unlimited budget — so you have to have people who know how to run programs and stretch a dollar. I’m an advocate of that. And I think it’s going to work here and we’re just in the process a little bit at a time.”
WIU is much better than the couple years prior when Nielson took over last year. If NDSU doesn’t play well, and considering it’s homecoming at WIU and the place will be nuts, stranger things have happened. But look for the Leathernecks to more closely resemble a physical Missouri Valley team in the coming years on a yearly basis — rather than the hit-and-miss of the last several seasons. That’s what you get when you hire somebody who is on their way up — and not some former hot shot offensive coordinator from the NFL or somebody who couldn’t make it work at Notre Dame.
The FCS Nickel has moved to our downtown studio location and the weekly winner will be displayed on the Monday video blog. No NDSU game this weekend, but still plenty of games that should have your attention, look at post from Thursday. Thanks to a big week last Saturday, we’re tied up!
DOM (55-10) JEFF (55-10)
(22) Liberty at Indiana State Liberty ISU
Northern Colorado at (7) Montana Montana Montana
(25) Delaware at James Madison UD UD
North Dakota at (13) Montana State Mont St Mont St
Tennessee Tech at (10) UNI UNI UNI
(12) William & Mary at Stony Brook W&M W&M
Samford at (14) Chattanooga Chatt Sam
Elon at (3) Coastal Carolina CCU CCU
Western Illinois at (17) Southern Illinois SIU SIU
The beauty of the newspaper business is you always learn something from someone. This week, I learned the difference between plaid and tartan thanks to my story on new NDSU athletic director Matt Larsen.
In the first paragraph, I made note of what Larsen was wearing including a “plaid yellow and green tie worn by coaches and administrators over the past year.” In the words of Lee Corso, not so fast. Holly Bastow-Shoop, the head of the Department of Apparel, Design and Hospitality Management in the College of Human Development at NDSU, wrote a nice note saying the tie is tartan, not plaid. Tartan, she wrote, has been used for centuries in Scotland to represent a family clan. In the old days when at war with ones neighbors, you needed to know friend-and-foe so coloration was the key to, say, not shooting your cousin.
So from the family color theme came the NDSU Tartan Scholarship Project for students in the College of Human Development. The tartan has been designed, products produced, sourced, marketed and sold by the students, Holly writes, and is used as an educational opportunity to learn the market process. The students currently have over 20 products available. There you have it; and here I thought tartan was just a 1970s basketball arena surface.
It was an impressive performance by new Athletic Director Matt Larsen this morning at NDSU as he was officially introduced as the man to replace Gene Taylor. Larsen seemed confident and humble and eager for the challenge that awaits him with this position. Jeff and I discuss the presser and what’s ahead for Matt Larsen.