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One day later, new staff in place

FARGO — North Dakota State returned from its third consecutive Division I FCS national title on Saturday night. By Sunday morning, a new coaching regime was in place to lead the team in 2014.

Head coach Chris Klieman officially hired four more assistants, including the two coordinator positions. One, offensive coordinator Tim Polasek, returns to NDSU after one year at Northern Illinois.

“I’m almost speechless to be honest with you,” he said. “I’m almost coming out of my shoes ready to go to work.”

It will be the first coordinator job for Polasek, who was the fullbacks and tight ends coach at NDSU before taking the same position at Northern Illinois. He’s also coached running backs, receivers and quarterbacks and at age 34, said he’s ready to take on the next-level responsibilities in coaching.

NDSU will keep its same West Coast offensive system.

“I feel like in this system, I’m 100 percent ready to do it,” Polasek said. “If it were another system, maybe I’d be a year or two away. I’ve been calling plays mentally in this system for two or three years now.”

Klieman called on an old friend for the defensive coordinator position. Like Klieman, Matt Entz is a native of Waterloo, Iowa, who coached at Northern Iowa. He was the defensive coordinator last season at Western Illinois and will also coach the linebackers at NDSU.

Like the offense, the defense will not change systems either, staying primarily with the Tampa 2 alignment. Klieman, who was the defensive coordinator the last two years at NDSU, said he’ll still stay involved somewhat with the defense. He said senior linebacker Grant Olson will remain with the program and help with the linebackers.

NDSU reached into another Missouri Valley Football Conference school for the quarterbacks coach in Randy Hedberg, who was the quarterbacks coach at Southern Illinois.

“I have a lot of respect for what he’s done in a long period of coaching,” Klieman said. “He has a tremendous tie in the state of North Dakota, western Minnesota and will be a great fit for us.”

Hedberg was the head coach at Minot State (N.D.) from 1982-89 and St. Cloud State (Minn.) from 1999-2007. He will take over Brent Vigen’s duties as the principal recruiter in North Dakota.

In what can be perceived as a trade of some sorts, Klieman hired former Wyoming assistant Jamar Cain. New Wyoming head coach Craig Bohl is taking Bison assistants Vigen, offensive line coach Scott Fuchs, defensive ends coach A.J. Cooper, linebackers coach Steve Stanard, wide receivers coach Kenni Burns and defensive assistant John Richardson with him to Laramie.

Klieman was able to retain Conor Riley as the offensive line coach and Nick Goeser as the defensive tackles assistant. Goeser will take over as recruiting coordinator.

Cain was the defensive line coach at California Poly from 2009-12 and Missouri State from 2006-08. Klieman said Cain came recommended from Stanard, who coached him at New Mexico State. Klieman said he also spoke with Missouri State head coach Terry Allen.

“Everything checked out,” Klieman said.

Jeff Kolpack
Jeff Kolpack covers North Dakota State athletics, the Fargo Marathon and golf for The Forum. His blog can be accessed at On the radio, Kolpack & Izzo sports talk show runs from 9-11 a.m. every Saturday morning. April through August, the WDAY Golf Show with Jeff Kolpack runs from 8-9 a.m.