North Dakota State University's changing of the guard at head football coach has sent a ripple effect through the University of Jamestown.
University of Jamestown head football coach Josh Kittell resigned from his position with UJ on Wednesday, Jan. 16, accepting the position as director of recruiting for NDSU football and its new head coach Matt Entz.
Kittell is making a return to Bison football, having served as the team's offensive quality control assistant during NDSU's run to a fifth consecutive FCS national championship in 2015-16. A former record-setting quarterback for University of Jamestown, Kittell served as the Jimmies' offensive coordinator in 2014 and just wrapped up his third season as head coach of the Jimmies last fall.
Entz was named NDSU head football coach back in December, replacing Chris Klieman, who agreed to a six-year contract with a base salary of $2.3 million in 2019 to become head football coach at Kansas State University. Entz has spent the previous five seasons as NDSU's defensive coordinator, being on staff at the same time as Kittell in 2015.
"They reached out to me and started the conversation a little while ago," Kittell said. "Obviously it's a different position than I've been a part of before. But the recruiting side of things, especially in Division I, is just getting bigger and bigger.
"The opportunity to get familiar with D-I recruiting and be part of a program with a ton of success is what really attracted me to the position."
Kittell officially went 3-30 in his three years at the head of UJ football. The NAIA stripped the coach and the university of all six victories the program achieved between 2016-17 as a result of two separate player ineligibility infractions. The NAIA levied the penalty against UJ last September.
Kittell, who was named head coach by UJ in Dec. 2015 to replace fired head coach Shawn Frank, will be remembered as the coach who led Jamestown into the Great Plains Athletic Conference. Kittell and the Jimmies went 3-8 overall and 2-7 in GPAC play in 2018, finishing ninth out of 10 teams in the conference standings.
Jamestown was picked to finish last in the GPAC preseason coaches' poll.
"I just got done telling the guys this was never about me. It's always been about them," Kittell said. "We put down a foundation saying this is what we wanted to do, and now the future will be in their control. We've got 80 guys going into spring ball right now, the most we've had the last three years.
"That foundation and leadership that we have in the program right now is what will really push it forward. It's trending up."
Kittell graduated from the University of Jamestown in 2008, and led Jimmie football to a record of 16-5 over two seasons as the program's starting quarterback. Kittell set single-season school records for passing yards (2,938), passes attempted (395), passes completed (249) and total offense (3,345) his senior season.
Kittell, a native of Garrison, N.D., also set the school's single-game record for touchdown passes (6) and most consecutive completions (12).
"University of Jamestown is always going to hold a special place for me. It gave me a chance to be a student-athlete, earn a degree, and it gave me my first chance at being on offensive coordinator," Kittell said. "To be the head coach at your alma mater is something I'll always hold dear, that's for sure. It was a great environment and something I'll remember forever."
A press release issued by UJ on Wednesday explained the search for a new head football coach is currently underway.
"Josh has put our football program on the path for future success," stated University of Jamestown Director of Athletics Sean Johnson. "We are extremely grateful for his efforts and wish him nothing but the best."