New North Dakota coach says he's happy to be home

Published on NewsOK Modified: December 27, 2013 at 4:50 pm •  Published: December 27, 2013

GRAND FORKS, N.D. (AP) — The new head coach at the University of North Dakota said Friday he's happy to return to the school where he served as an assistant for 15 years.

Kyle "Bubba" Schweigert wrestled with his emotions as he was introduced as the 26th head coach in UND history. He said the only reason he left Grand Forks a decade ago was for the opportunity for his first and only previous head coaching job, at Minnesota-Duluth.

"I never wanted to leave here," Schweigert said, fighting back tears. "But a great group of people gave me a head coaching opportunity (at Duluth) and I had a great four years there."

Schweigert, 51, takes over a program in need of repair. Chris Mussman, who was fired after six seasons, built some high-powered offenses in leading the school's transition from NCAA Division II to Division I. But his teams struggled defensively in the wide-open Big Sky Conference.

A longtime defensive coach, Schweigert coached three first-team All-Americans as defensive coordinator at Southern Illinois, where he has worked for the past six years under former UND head coach Dale Lennon.

"The reality is, I'm just a small town North Dakota guy and a carpenter's kid," said Schweigert, a native of Zeeland. "It doesn't matter if you're 50th in line or whatever. If you get an opportunity, you take it."

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