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College football: Steger returns to UMD coaching staff

Steger returns to UMD coaching staff John Steger, who spent 11 seasons as Minnesota Duluth's defensive coordinator before departing for Southern Illinois two years ago, is returning to the Bulldogs' football coaching staff to assume his old position.

Steger returns to UMD coaching staff

John Steger, who spent 11 seasons as Minnesota Duluth's defensive coordinator before departing for Southern Illinois two years ago, is returning to the Bulldogs' football coaching staff to assume his old position.

Steger, Southern Illinois' inside linebackers coach and special teams coordinator since 2010, will begin his duties at UMD later this month. He replaces Todd Strop, who stepped down in April for personal reasons following two years with the team.

"I'm leaving a great place to go to another great place," Steger said. "The last two years have been tremendous in terms of my growth as a coach. I got a chance to work with some outstanding people such as (former UMD head coach and current Southern Illinois associate coach) Bubba Schweigert and (Southern Illinois head coach) Dale Lennon and do so at the NCAA I-A level. But when the opportunity to come back to UMD presented itself, I knew it was something I couldn't pass up."

The 49-year-old Steger first signed on with the Bulldogs in 1999 along with then-rookie coach Bob Nielson. During Steger's tenure UMD consistently ranked among the NCAA Division II leaders in a host of statistical categories. In 2008, Steger was chosen as a finalist for the footballscoop.com NCAA Coordinator of the Year Award after the Bulldogs allowed just four touchdowns in the playoffs. From 1999-2009, the Dubuque, Iowa, native helped produce six All-Americans and 24 All-NSIC/North Central Conference first-team selections and was part of four conference championship teams.

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-- Nielson also announced that fifth-year assistant coach Tyler Yelk has been promoted to special teams coordinator. Yelk, an All-America free safety with the Bulldogs as a senior in 2008, will continue to supervise the defensive secondary and serve as the team's recruiting coordinator.

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