Five new assistants join the Bison family
It’s no small news that the recent championship win for North Dakota State football was Coach Klieman’s final game as a Bison, and with his replacement, Matt Entz, comes a largely new cast of assistant coaches. Coach Entz has hired five new assistant coaches this past week.
The hires include David Braun as defensive coordinator and safeties coach, AJ Blazek as offensive line coach, Noah Pauley as wide receivers coach, Grant Olson as linebacker coach and Dan Larson as running backs coach.
Braun is a former defensive lineman who played under Coach Entz. He is coming off of two seasons as the defensive line coach and run game coordinator at Northern Iowa. Also on Braun’s resume is several linebacker coaching job, defensive coordinator jobs, and one year as a special teams coordinator.
New offensive line coach Blazek is a former Big Ten center out of Iowa. He’s been an offensive line coach since 2009 at Winona State, Western Illinois and most recently Rutgers, where he was assistant coach for two seasons. Blazek and Entz have worked together before for one year during stints with the Warriors and Leathernecks.
Pauley is coming off three seasons as wide receiver coach and offensive coordinator at Minnesota-Duluth, where he was a four-year starter and part of a Division II championship team. Pauley also won a pair of D-II titles with the Bulldogs as a player between 2007-10.
Olson is returning to his alma mater. Olson was a linebacker for the Bison and part of three championship teams from 2010-2013. He worked as a graduate student under Coach Entz back in 2014 and has been linebacker coach at Indiana State for the past two seasons.
Indiana State was one of the surprise teams in the FCS this season. After a winless campaign two years ago, the Sycamores put together a seven-win resume and many feel they were snubbed from the playoff field.
Larson was the final coach to be added to the roster for Coach Entz. Larson has been coaching since 2003 after he was an all-conference defensive lineman at Wisconsin-Eau-Claire. Eau Claire is also where Larson has been head coach for the past three seasons.
However, there will be a few familiar faces on the sideline for the 2019 season. Returning for his third season will be defensive ends coach Buddha Williams. Kody Morgan will be returning as the cornerbacks coach for his second season at the position and fourth on the team.
Special teams coordinator and defensive tackles coach Nick Goeser will also be returning for the 2019 season. The nine-year veteran has been part of all seven of NDSU’s FCS championships.
Two other returnees, Randy Hedberg and Tyler Roehl, both received promotions from Coach Entz.
Hedberg, who was previously the quarterbacks coach, will now assume the duties as associate head coach/passing game coordinator. Hedberg will be going into his sixth season as a Bison. He is responsible for coaching both current NFL quarterback Carson Wentz and the all-time winningest FCS quarterback of all time, Easton Stick. Hedberg will also retain the responsibility of quarterbacks coach.
As previously stated, Roehl also received a promotion for Coach Entz. Roehl will continue his job as the tight ends and fullbacks coach, but he will also be NDSU’s offensive coordinator.
With five new hires and five returning Bison, it will be interesting to see what Entz and his coaching staff can do. It’s no secret that Bison fans will have huge expectations for next season.