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Bohl: I've done all I can do at NDSU

by Mike McFeely

Craig Bohl believes he's done all he can do at North Dakota State, so he took the head football coaching job at the University of Wyoming.

That was the message Bohl gave to Bison football fans during his weekly televison show on Fargo's KXJB-TV Sunday morning, one day after news broke the most successful coach in NDSU history was moving from Fargo to Laramie, Wyo.

"There comes a point where you look and say, 'The program has gone as far as what I as a head football coach can take that program,'" Bohl said. "No one really knows that other than the head football coach. There are lots of dynamics that go into these decisions . It's a complicated question, it's not an easy answer. But I can tell you, once you feel like your work is completed then it is time for you as a leader to step aside and let somebody else take charge."

 Craig Bohl

With those words, Bohl confirmed what became common knowledge Saturday night: The coach who led Bison to back-to-back Football Championship Subdivision championships will leave NDSU for the University of Wyoming, a program that competes at the higher-level Football Bowl Subdivision.

Wyoming will hold a press conference to introduce Bohl at 6 p.m. Central Sunday. Bohl said he will meet the Cowboys team and athletic director Tom Burman while he is in Laramie.

Bohl will get a significant pay hike at Wyoming, going from about $350,000 a year at NDSU to the neighborhood of $1.5 million with the Cowboys. It's been reported Bohl's representative negotiated the use of a private plane and significantly more pay for Cowboys assistant coaches.

But money didn't come up when host Jeremy Jorgenson asked Bohl why the coach is going to Wyoming.

"I've personally always been very comfortable and liked that region of the country," Bohl said. "Our family has gone on many vacations and I went on trips out there when I was in grade school and high school. There is a whole host of things."

It is still not known who will coach the Bison for the remainder of this year's playoffs. NDSU will host Coastal Carolina on Saturday in the FCS quarterfinals. A coaching web site reported Sunday Bohl would likely coach the Bison until their season ended. But Bohl sounded non-commital when asked about it Sunday.

"I plan to be back tomorrow morning. It is a quick trip. There are a lot of moving parts," Bohl said. "Gene Taylor will make great decisions as the football porogram goes forward. I want to encouage everyone to have great trust in Gene and his leadership."

Wyoming fired five-year coach Dave Christensen one week ago and the process apparently moved quickly from there. Bohl said Wyoming contacted his agent and the agent worked on the deal while Bohl helped prepare NDSU to play Furman in the first round of the playoffs. The Bison won that game 38-7 Saturday at the Fargodome.

"There is no perfect time," Bohl said. "But I can tell you the No. 1 goal is the 2013 Bison, for us to take our football team as far as it can go. While there may be all kinds of emotions, and I certainly have a ton of emotions, this is about this football team."

Also not clear is the future of Bison assistant coaches. Pete Roussel of www.coachingsearch.com tweeted early Sunday that he's hearing Bohl offered jobs at Wyoming to five current NDSU assistants: offensive coordinator Brent Vigen, defensive coordinator Chris Klieman, recruiting coordinator (receivers) Kenni Burns, linebackers coach Steve Stanard and offensive line coach Scott Fuchs. 

Another question involves the high school players who have verbally committed to NDSU for 2014. Verbal commitments are not binding, so there is the possibility players who have verbally committed to the Bison could rescind and go to another school -- including following Bohl to Wyoming. NDSU's 2014 recruiting class is ranked higher than Wyoming's on some recruiting web sites.

"High school players are very resilient. There is almost nothing that goes on that doesn't become instantaneous," Bohl said. "The thing that I've always believed is that players come to NDSU because it is a great institution and great support we have here at NDSU. Head coaches can come and go, but the institution and the program remain."

There is an interesting stipulation in Bohl's contract he signed on Jan. 1, that I will report on in my next blog.

Bohl met with NDSU players in a team meeting just prior to his TV appearance. When asked what he said to the team, Bohl replied: "This couldn't be about emotion. This team is in the middle of a phenomenal playoff run. You can slice it and dice it up anyway you can ... they did not get an emotional message today. I thought it was important for them to hear the very first thing from their head football coach as opposed to me being out in Wyoming saying 'I'm going to take this job.'"

 (Mike McFeely is a talk-show host on KFGO-AM in Fargo, N.D. He can be reached at mike.mcfeely@mwcradio.com. Follow him on Twitter @MikeMcFeelyKFGO.)