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Bob Nielson to be Named USD Head Football Coach

VERMILLION, S.D. — University of South Dakota Athletic Director David Herbster has called a press conference for 1 p.m. Tuesday to announce the hiring of Bob Nielson as head football coach.

The press conference will be held in the Muenster University Center (MUC) on the USD campus. Herbster and Nielson will not be available for comment until that time.

Nielson, 56, has compiled a 186-80-1 record for a win percentage of .698 in 23 seasons as a head coach. He has been the head football coach at Western Illinois University in Macomb for the last three seasons. He has also served as head coach at Ripon College (1989-90), Wartburg College (1991-95), Wisconsin-Eau Claire (1996-98) and Minnesota Duluth (1999-2003, 2008-12).

Nielson was named Missouri Valley Football Conference Coach of the Year in late November after leading Western Illinois to a 7-6 record and to the second round of the FCS playoffs. It was the first playoff appearance for the Leathernecks since 2010. Western Illinois played the toughest regular season schedule in the nation according to NCAA rankings.

Nielson led Minnesota Duluth to NCAA Division II national championships in 2008 and 2010. Both teams finished with 15-0 records. Nielson was voted Division II National Coach of the Year following both championship seasons.

Nielson grew up in Marion, Iowa, and is a 1982 graduate of Wartburg College in Waverly, Iowa. He received his master’s degree from the University of Northern Iowa in 1988. He and his wife, Terri, have two daughters, Amanda Taylor and Kasey King, and a son, Kyle.

Nielson will be USD's 30th head football coach.


Founded in 1862 and the first university in the Dakotas, the University of South Dakota is the only public liberal arts university in the state, with 202 undergraduate and 84 graduate programs in the College of Arts & Sciences, School of Education, Knudson School of Law, Sanford School of Medicine, School of Health Sciences, Beacom School of Business and College of Fine Arts. With an enrollment of nearly 10,000 students and more than 400 faculty, USD has a 16:1 student/faculty ratio, and it ranks among the best in academics and affordability. USD’s 18 athletic programs compete at the NCAA Division I level.


Hanna DeLange
USD News