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Kittell hired as new UJ football coach

FARGO--Josh Kittell was playing quarterback the last time the Jimmie football team had a winning record. That was in 2008. Now, Kittell is in charge of bringing his alma mater back to that level. A 2008 graduate, Kittell was announced as new head...

Josh Kittell was named the University of Jamestown’s new head football coach on Tuesday, December 22, 2015 in Fargo, N.D. Carrie Snyder / The Forum
Josh Kittell was named the University of Jamestown’s new head football coach on Tuesday, December 22, 2015 in Fargo, N.D. Carrie Snyder / The Forum

FARGO-Josh Kittell was playing quarterback the last time the Jimmie football team had a winning record.

That was in 2008. Now, Kittell is in charge of bringing his alma mater back to that level.

A 2008 graduate, Kittell was announced as new head coach of the University of Jamestown on Tuesday at a press conference at the school's physical therapy building in south Fargo.

Kittell was offensive coordinator at UJ in 2014 before spending the past season as an assistant coach at North Dakota State. He'll continue his duties as the offensive quality control coach for the Bison through the Football Championship Subdivision title game on Jan. 9. NDSU is seeking its fifth straight FCS championship.

"I think the timing is great," the 29-year-old Kittell said. "In a way, I'm coming home and I'm really excited to get started. This time with NDSU really helped prepare me to go after this and I think I can do a pretty darn good job.

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"The last four or five months working with (the NDSU) staff has been a phenomenal experience. Obviously, they're great football coaches and it's a great program, but it's also a really good group of people."

Kittell's duties at NDSU primarily included video breakdown and scouting of opponents and also was involved in offensive game-planning.

"Josh has been a tremendous fit with our offensive staff," NDSU head coach Chris Klieman said. "His organization and attention to detail will make him an outstanding head football coach."

Kittell called plays for the Jimmies in 2014 and helped the team to its best output (411 yards per game) since his senior season in 2008. Kittell still holds eight school records and was 16-5 as a starter.

Sean Johnson, UJ director of athletics, got positive feedback wherever he turned in regards to Kittell, but was particularly impressed with the recommendation of NDSU defensive ends coach Jamar Cain, who was a player at New Mexico State when Johnson was working in the athletic department for the Aggies.

"I know Jamar and I trust him. Jamar said (Josh) is ready," Johnson said. "Josh has absorbed a lot over here and he's been working his tail off ... he's been at the office sleeping on the couch."

Kittell replaces Shawn Frank, who was head coach for three-plus years and an assistant for 11 years previously before parting ways with the school in October. Travis Titus was interim head coach the last four games and led the Jimmies to a 3-1 record.

"It's been a tough year for everybody, but Travis did a great job keeping the ball rolling," Kittell said.

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The new head coach said he will wait until after he finishes his duties with NDSU before making decisions on the coaching staff. However, he believes a lot of good pieces are in place.

"We have a lot more things going for us than against us," he said. "We have great support from the administration. We have great support from the community ... I know that for a fact because I've experienced it as a player and as an assistant coach."

There is work to do. Since 2009, the program is 29-41, although Johnson believes Kittell is the right fit at the right time-once his work with the Bison is complete.

"I've been in this for a long time and I've never been at a place that was playing for a national championship," the UJ AD said. "It's like I told him, go help them win a ring, then come help us win one."

Related Topics: FOOTBALL
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