After spending the past three seasons at the helm of Western Illinois University, 56-year old Bob Nielson will be moving to Vermillion to replace Joe Glenn as USD’s 30th head football coach.
During a press conference Tuesday afternoon, Nielson was introduced to USD faculty, staff, students, alumni and the media. David Herbster, the athletic director for USD, said Nielson’s name was at the top of USD’s list when officials were looking for a replacement for Glenn.
“I wanted a head coach that was experienced, that had Midwestern roots, that had a track record of winning, that had built programs before, that had been in a variety of places and could bring those experiences here,” Herbster said.
In his 23 seasons as a head coach, Nielson is 186-80-1. He was named Missouri Valley Coach of the Year this year after Western Illinois posted a 7-6 record and made it to the second round of the FCS Playoffs.
Nielson has also spent time as a head coach at Minnesota Duluth, Wisconsin-Eau Claire, Wartburg College and Ripon College. This included two undefeated seasons at Minnesota Duluth in 2008 and 2010 that resulted in two NCAA Division II National Championships and two coach of the year titles for Nielson.
Nielson said he expects to win national championships at USD and has already started putting together a coaching staff for next year. He also said the Coyotes have demonstrated they can beat tough teams, but consistency needs to be a topic of focus for next season.
“Championships for the pride of the Western Plain will be our goal,” he said.
One of the reasons Nielson said he decided to take the position at USD was because he believes the future of the University’s athletic department is bright.
“From time to time in my career I’ve been referred to as a builder. I’m extremely excited today to build onward using the foundation that Coach Glenn has established,” he said.
Malachi Petersen contributed to this report.