HE'S BACK: Former UMD football coach Bob Nielson returns to head the program he ran for five seasons.
Former Minnesota Duluth coach and current athletic director Bob Nielson was appointed the Bulldogs' football coach today, just a day after UMD announced the resignation of football coach Kyle "Bubba" Schweigert to take the defensive coordinator p...
Former Minnesota Duluth coach and current athletic director Bob Nielson was appointed the Bulldogs' football coach today, just a day after UMD announced the resignation of football coach Kyle "Bubba" Schweigert to take the defensive coordinator position at Southern Illinois University.
Nielson, 48, said he will maintain the dual position of AD and coach for the "foreseeable future." He coached UMD from 1999-2003 before stepping down to become athletic director.
Nielson said he always missed coaching and that recent developments called for quick action. UMD Chancellor Kathryn Martin made the appointment after meetings with Nielson and Vice Chancellor of University Relations Bill Wade.
"Looking at our situation, with where we're at and the momentum the program has built, this just made the most sense," Nielson said. "We know we have quality coaches within our football program, plus we evaluated the strength within the department as far as having the proper support people in place. The more we talked about it, the more we came to the conclusion this was a great route to go, and it's one that I'm very excited about."
This isn't Nielson's first stint as AD/football coach, having held the dual role for five years at his alma mater, Wartburg College, in Waverly, Iowa, from 1991-95. Nielson began his head coaching career at Ripon (Wis.) College from 1989-90, and coached at Wisconsin-Eau Claire from 1996-1998 before coming to UMD.
Nielson had a 38-19 record in five seasons with the Bulldogs, the best winning percentage (.667) in program history. Under Nielson, UMD went 11-1 in 2002 and advanced to its first NCAA Division II playoffs.
"I missed it a lot, and what I think I missed the most about coaching wasn't necessarily the coaching on game days," Nielson said. "What I missed was the personal relationships you developed with student athletes on a day-to-day basis. This new position will not only allow me to have that daily contact, but also to build strong relationships within the larger scope of our program. And I think having done this before, I'll have an advantage. I know what to expect."
Nielson and his wife, Terri, have three children: Amanda, and twins Kyle and Kasey. They reside in Hermantown.