Former Minnesota Duluth All-American offensive lineman Garth Heikkinen has been hired as the Bulldogs' new offensive line coach, the school announced Thursday.

"I'm thrilled to be back with UMD football and joining (head coach) Curt Wiese's staff," Heikkinen said in a statement. "Football and the coaching profession have always been passions of mine. When the opportunity arose to coach at the collegiate level - and at my alma mater of all places - it didn't take long for me to make my decision. I had a tremendous experience as a student-athlete at UMD and I've always been proud to be a Bulldog."

A Duluth Central High School alumnus, Heikkinen capped off his remarkable collegiate career in 2012 by winning the Gene Upshaw National Division II Lineman of the Year Award. In January 2013, he also became just the second Bulldog ever to play in the East-West Shrine Game.

Heikkinen served as a graduate assistant coach with the Bulldogs from 2013-15 before working for Universal Athletic (sales representative) and Ameriprise (customer service representative) in Duluth. He graduated from UMD in 2012 with a B.S. Degree in criminology.

Heikkinen replaces Peter Lue, who stepped down after 13 seasons to pursue a position helping youth in the Twin Ports.