Craig Bohl enters his second year leading the University of Wyoming football program in 2015. Bohl, who was part of building National Championship teams at North Dakota State and Nebraska, was introduced by University of Wyoming Athletics Director Tom Burman as the new head football coach of the Wyoming Cowboys on Sunday, Dec. 8, 2013. Bohl became the 32nd head football coach in University of Wyoming history.
He came to Wyoming after building a national power at North Dakota State as a head coach for 11 seasons from 2003-13. His teams won three consecutive National Championships at the NCAA Football Championship Subdivision (FCS) level in 2011, ‘12 and ‘13. NDSU became only the second FCS school in NCAA history to win three consecutive national football titles, tied the FCS record for consecutive wins (24 from 2011-13) and became the first undefeated FCS National Champion since 1996.
“Rarely do you get an opportunity to hire a head coach who has won multiple National Championships and has a reputation as a program builder,” said Burman.
“I am absolutely confident we hired one of the best football coaches in the country. All you have to do is look at Craig’s record.”
“I understand the awesome responsibility to lead this football team,” said Bohl. “I also understand how important football is in the fabric of this institution and not only this institution but around the state. Whether you’re in Sheridan, Casper or Thermopolis, this is the state team, and I embrace that.
“I’m looking forward to getting to know the people of our great state of Wyoming. It will be an exciting time for us. We understand that the bar is high. I also appreciate the vision that Tom (Burman) has, and I want to thank him for having faith in me to lead this football program. He was able to articulate to me where our football program needs to go and the resources that are going to be provided to allow us to experience success.
“I can’t tell you how excited I am to embrace the Cowboy tradition.”
Not only has Bohl won three national titles at the FCS level, but he was the linebackers coach at his alma mater, Nebraska, when the Huskers won the 1995 and 1997 National Championships. Bohl concluded his career as head coach of the NDSU Bison, with a 104-32 (.765) record. He guided the Bison to the FCS Playoffs each of his final four seasons, posting a 14-1 record in the FCS Playoffs. His last three teams posted records of 14-1 (2011), 14-1 (2012) and 15-0 (2013) for a combined record of 43-2 (.956) on way to its three consecutive FCS national titles.
By winning the 2013 FCS National Championship, North Dakota State extended its winning streak to 24 consecutive games, which tied both the NDSU and FCS records for consecutive victories. The Bison teams from 1964-66 originally set the school record with 24 straight victories. The University of Pennsylvania set the FCS record of 24 consecutive wins from 1992-95. That record was later tied by Montana from 2001-02.
The 2013 NDSU team also set a North Dakota State single-season record for wins, posting a perfect 15-0 record in 2013. The Bison became the first undefeated FCS National Champion since Marshall went 15-0 to win the 1996 FCS title.
The Bison had great success against FBS teams to go with their elite status at the FCS level. In each of the past four seasons, Bohl’s Bison defeated all four of the FBS teams they faced, and captured all of those wins on the road. NDSU won at Kansas in 2010 (by a score of 6-3), at Minnesota in 2011 (37-24), at Colorado State in 2012 (22-7), and at Kansas State in 2013 (24-21). Overall during his 11 years at North Dakota State, Bohl’s teams built a 7-3 record against FBS teams.
In 2012 and ‘13, Bohl received both The Sports Network Eddie Robinson FCS National Coach of the Year Award and the American Football Coaches Association (AFCA) FCS National Coach of the Year Award. He became the first coach in the first 27 years of the Eddie Robinson Award to win it in consecutive seasons. In 2013, he also received the Liberty Mutual FCS Coach of the Year Award, which is presented in partnership with the National Football Foundation and College Football Hall of Fame. His other National Coach of the Year honor came in 2006, when he was recognized by the Football Gazette as the FCS National Coach of the Year and the Northwest Region Coach of the Year.
He was also a finalist for The Sports Network Eddie Robinson Award in 2011, 2007 and 2006, and was the 2011 and 2013 AFCA Region 4 FCS Coach of the Year. Bohl was selected to the American Football Coaches Association Board of Trustees by a vote of the membership at the 2012 AFCA national convention.
His North Dakota State teams have been built on an exciting West Coast offense and a physical, aggressive defense. In the 2013 season, North Dakota State’s offense ranked No. 7 in rushing offense (257.3 yards per game), No. 10 in the nation in scoring offense (38.7 points per game) and No. 14 in total offense (457.5 ypg). The Bison defense ranked No. 1 in the nation in scoring defense (11.3 points allowed per game), No. 2 in the nation in pass defense efficiency (97.59 rating), No. 3 in rushing defense (91.3 yards allowed per game) and were No. 3 in total defense (255.9 yards allowed per game). The Bison led all FCS teams in scoring defense three consecutive seasons (2011-13).
In addition to his 11 years of experience as a head coach at North Dakota State, Bohl has 19 years of experience as a full-time assistant coach at the collegiate level and three seasons as a graduate assistant. His last eight years as an assistant coach were spent at Nebraska. He was the linebackers coach under head coach Tom Osborne for five of those seasons and was part of the 1995 and ‘97 Nebraska National Championship teams. Bohl’s final three seasons (2000-02) at Nebraska, he served as the Cornhuskers’ defensive coordinator under head coach Frank Solich, before accepting the head-coaching job at North Dakota State in 2003. Bohl was part of 11 bowl-game appearances while at Nebraska -- eight as an assistant coach from 1995 to 2002 and three as a graduate assistant coach for the Huskers from 1981-83.
As the defensive coordinator and linebackers coach at Duke in 1994, he helped coach the Blue Devils to the Hall of Fame Bowl in his only season at Duke.
Bohl’s North Dakota State teams were ranked in The Sports Network or FCS Coaches Top 25 polls for 107 weeks since beginning FCS play in 2004, and earned the No. 1 ranking in both the final 2011, 2012 and 2013 polls, including being named a unanimous No. 1 following the 2013 campaign. The Bison’s record versus FCS Top 25 ranked teams under Bohl’s direction was 30-8. From 2004-2007, Bohl helped lead North Dakota State through its transition to the NCAA FCS level.
During that transition period, his teams posted back-to-back 10-1 seasons in 2006 and 2007, but weren’t eligible for postseason play due to NCAA rules regarding teams moving up a division. During his time in Fargo, N.D., Bohl coached 10 Academic All-Americans and 37 All-Americans, while six student-athletes in the last 10 years were named to the Allstate/AFCA Good Works team. He added a seventh Allstate/AFCA Good Works team member in 2014 at Wyoming, when senior wide receiver Dominic Rufran earned that honor.
Bohl grew up in Lincoln, Neb., and went on to attend the University of Nebraska where he was a reserve defensive back from 1977 to 1979 under head coach Tom Osborne. Bohl was part of Nebraska’s 1979 Orange Bowl and 1980 Cotton Bowl teams.
The 2015 season will be Bohl’s 35th year coaching at the college level, including 13 years as a head coach, 19 as a full-time assistant coach and three seasons as a graduate assistant. He began his coaching career as a graduate assistant at his alma mater in 1981, assisting with the Nebraska linebackers and defensive backs for three seasons from 1981-83. His first full-time coaching position came at North Dakota State in 1984, coaching the defensive backs. He moved on to coach the linebackers at the University of Tulsa for the 1985 and ‘86 seasons. In 1987 and ‘88, Bohl was the linebackers coach at the University of Wisconsin. He earned his first defensive coordinator position in 1989 at Rice, where he served as the defensive coordinator for five seasons from 1989-93. In 1994, Bohl accepted the defensive coordinator position at Duke. The following season in 1995, he had the opportunity to return to Nebraska as the linebackers coach, and in his first season back in Lincoln the Huskers won the National Championship. Two seasons later, they captured their second National Championship during Bohl’s time as an assistant coach.
Born July 27, 1958, Bohl will be 57 years old when the 2015 season kicks off. He earned his bachelor’s degree in business administration from Nebraska in 1982. Bohl’s family includes wife Leia, and children Mallory and Morgan, Aaron and Elijah.
Craig Bohl’s Career Coaching Honors
2013 The Sports Network Eddie Robinson FCS National Coach of the Year American Football Coaches Association (AFCA) FCS National Coach of the Year Liberty Mutual, National Football Foundation and College Football Hall of Fame FCS National Coach of the Year AFCA Region 4 Division I FCS Coach of the Year Missouri Valley Football Conference Bruce Craddock Coach of the Year
2012 The Sports Network Eddie Robinson FCS National Coach of the Year The American Football Coaches Association (AFCA) FCS National Coach of the Year Elected to the AFCA Board of Trustees Missouri Valley Football Conference Bruce Craddock Coach of the Year
2011 Finalist for The Sports Network Eddie Robinson FCS National Coach of the Year AFCA Region 4 Division I FCS Coach of the Year Missouri Valley Football Conference Bruce Craddock Coach of the Year
2007 Finalist for The Sports Network Eddie Robinson FCS National Coach of the Year
2006 Football Gazette FCS National Coach of the Year Football Gazette FCS Northwest Region Coach of the Year Finalist for The Sports Network Eddie Robinson FCS National Coach of the Year Great West Football Conference Coach of the Year