Today the University of South Dakota announced Bob Nielson would be its next head football coach. And, it appears, the Coyotes have hit a home run.
When former head coach Joe Glenn announced his retirement USD Athletics Director David Herbster made one thing clear – he wanted a coach who is a proven winner and has experience as an FCS Coach or higher.
Nielson, who has been described as “a great coach and a better person”, is exactly what the search was looking for. He brings 23 years of coaching experience to the University of South Dakota, including the last three at Missouri Valley Football Conference foe Western Illinois. Nielson took the Leathernecks to the playoffs this season – the first appearance for the program since 2010 – and advanced to the second round before MVFC member Illinois State eliminated WIU. Not only has Nielson spent a lot of time as a head coach he was been on the winning end nearly 70 percent of the time with an overall record of 186-80-1. Two of those victories were in the NCAA DII National Championship game (2008 & 2010) while at Minnesota-Duluth.
Nielson takes over a USD football program that is far from a rebuilding project. The Coyotes, who weren’t able to beat Nielson the past three seasons, finished this season 5-6 overall and 3-5 in conference play. The team was led by a lot of promising young talent this past season. Nielson will no doubt have some work to do as the program continues building into a contender in the Missouri Valley Football Conference, but it isn’t a start over project.
Nielson’s first game as head coach of the Coyotes is to be determined after Cal canceled its scheduled contest with USD to play a game in Australia. South Dakota officials have been working to get a replacement game and plan to announce it in the near future.
Nielson will be formally introduced at a press conference tomorrow at the USD campus in Vermillion.
The future is bright for the Coyotes who are working to turn the corner in the MVFC. Herbster, Deputy AD David Williams and President James Abbott have hired a winner to lead the program into a new era.