With the news that former UND defensive coordinator Eric Schmidt was moving on to Fresno State, we naturally started the wheels in motion to try and compile a list of replacements.
This much we know: UND is keeping the 3-4 defense so they need to find somebody well-versed in coaching it. Play-calling experience is not a hard-line requisite but would definitely help. What position they coach does not matter. Salary will definitely be an issue as UND pays around 95K a year we believe, which is just OK.
Brett Holinka – the current linebackers coach at UND played for the Sioux from 2005-2008. Holinka earned all-conference honors his senior season, which was UND’s first in the Great West conference. He began his coaching career at St. Thomas (2010-11), then coached at Rutgers from 2012-14. He then coached at Winona State as linebackers coach & ST coordinator from 2015-17 before becoming the defensive coordinator at U of Mary in 2018.
Joel Schwenzfeier – the current safeties coach for UND – played for the Sioux from 2007-2010 and earned all-conference honors his senior season. He has been on the UND staff for seven seasons coaching outside linebackers and safeties. Highly regarded among staff and former teammates.
Travis Stepps – the current secondary coach for UND is a Pitt State alum and posseses 16 years of experience coaching at the FCS level. He coached at Southern Illinois prior to coming to Grand Forks, spending 12 years on the Saluki staff coaching a variety of positions.
Tom Dosch – the former Northern State head coach was recently let go and is in the market for a job. Dosch coached at NSU from 2010-2019 compiling a record of 53-57. Prior to that he was the linebackers coach/ST coordinator at Southern Illinois from 2008-2009. Dosch got his first head coaching job at Jamestown College, leading the Jimmies to a 25-17 record from 2004-2007. He coached defensive line & linebackers at UND from 1993-2003.
Here is my prediction: UND hires internally from the list above for the defensive coordinator position and then opens up the job for defensive line coach.
A couple defensive line candidates that come to mind are former UND staffers:
Austin Dickinson – the current DL coach for Mankato State coached at UND in 2017 as a offensive assistant. He is a Buena Vista grad and also coached at Minot State & Buena Vista.
Austin Flyger – most recently was defensive coordinator at Northern State in 2019. Prior to that he coached for seven seasons at Southern Illinois. Flyger has UND experience as he was a defensive assistant from 2007-2008.
Like I stated in the post about Schmidt leaving for Fresno – whoever they hire needs to be a good recruiter and needs to have the ability to spend time on the road sniffing out prospects. Schmidt was a dedicated recruiter who would consistently travel from Denver to Chicago and all places in between to find and sign recruits.