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BREAKING: Reports say Bohl leaving NDSU for Wyoming

by Mike McFeely

North Dakota State football coach Craig Bohl has accepted the head coaching job at the University of Wyoming, according to CBS Sports and the Casper (Wyo.) Star-Tribune.

The hire will be announced at a press conference Sunday, according to CBSsports.com college football writer Bruce Feldman. Wyoming has scheduled a 6 p.m. Central time press conference.

Citing an unnamed source, Feldman wrote of Bohl: "The former Nebraska DB has a reputation for developing fierce teams and recruiting tough players, and that convinced the Wyoming brass that he would be an ideal fit for the Cowboys."

 Craig Bohl

Attempts to reach Bohl and NDSU athletic director Gene Taylor on Saturday night were not successful.

Bohl will appear on his statewide weekly television show Sunday at 10:30 a.m. Central, NDSU director of broadcasting Jeremy Jorgenson said. Jorgenson did not reply to text messages asking if Bohl would make a public announcement on the show that he was leaving NDSU.

Rumors began circulating in Fargo about Bohl's job status Saturday after a web site focused on college football coaching searches put out a message on Twitter that said, "It wouldn't surprise me if Craig Bohl emerges as the guy at Wyoming."

I asked Bohl about the Wyoming speculation after NDSU's 38-7 victory over Furman in the Football Championship Subdivision playoffs Saturday and Bohl said, "I've never made comments." During his time with the Bison, Bohl has never commented on jobs.

I asked NDSU athletic director Gene Taylor whether Bohl was going to Wyoming and Taylor said, "Nobody has contacted me about Craig. I haven't heard that. I'll have to ask him."

Reached Saturday night, Bison senior linebacker Grant Olson said he had not heard from Bohl or the athletic department about Bohl's job status. Olson said he'd be surprised if Bohl left NDSU.

"I understand coaching. You play long enough and you see coaches come and go. It's part of the business," Olson said. "But the thing that would surprise me is if he left before this season ended."

Other Bison players took to social media to express their thoughts.

"Tell me this isn't true," Bison cornerback Marcus Williams wrote on Twitter.

"Really happy for coach, love that man with all my heart," NDSU quarterback Brock Jensen tweeted. "Sad it had to get leaked like this. Doubt he wanted it to happen like this."

Safety Bryan Shepherd tweeted: "At the end of the day I love my team and we need to stay focused for this upcoming game ... It's about the love we have for each other."

Defensive lineman Leevon Perry tweeted: "The guys on the field are the guys I put blood, sweat n tears into every game. 4 the rest of the season nothing will change that."

NDSU hosts Coastal Carolina in the quarterfinals next Saturday at 11 a.m..

The Bison have won the last two FCS national titles under Bohl. He is 41-2 the last three seasons, including 12-0 this season. 

NDSU has a number of victories over FBS schools, including a national-headline-making win over defending Big 12 champion Kansas State this season.

Many NDSU fans might wonder why Bohl would go from NDSU to Wyoming, which is not a member of a major conference. It could be two reasons: First, the recently-fired Dave Christensen made $1.2 million annually while Bohl is in the $350,000 range at NDSU. Second, there are rumors Wyoming might jump from the Mountain West Conference to the Big 12.

Wyoming was 5-7 in 2013 and 27-35 in Christensen's five years. In a press conference Monday, Wyoming athletic director Tom Burman said generally he was looking for a coach who could return a "culture of toughness" to Cowboys football, according to the Casper Star-Tribune.

“Whether you go back to Dana Dimel’s three years at the University of Wyoming, or Joe Tiller’s, we always had a toughness," Burman said Monday. "And we have to get that back. That’s a culture. You can take young kids and athletically but also mentally [teach them] so they come out and compete every Saturday with a very tough-minded personality.

The 55-year-old Bohl, in his 11th year at NDSU, is the winningest coach in school history. He is 101-32 overall, including a 7-3 mark against FBS schools. The Bison have won three straight Missouri Valley Conference titles.

He came to Fargo in 2003 after being fired as defensive coordinator at Nebraska. He was with the Cornhuskers for eight seasons, the first five as linebackers coach and the last three as defensive coordinator.

Bohl's first coaching job was as a graduate assistant at NDSU under Don Morton in 1984. He was also an assistant coach at Tulsa, Wisconsin, Rice and Duke.

Bohl is a native of Lincoln, Neb., and played for the Cornhuskers from 1977-79 under Tom Osborne.

More to come as details become available. Check this blog often.

(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.)