|Alma Mater:||University of Jamestown|
Bubba Schweigert wrapped up his second season with the first three-game winning streak of his UND head-coaching tenure. Those three victories gave his 2015 squad a 7-4 overall record and 5-3 mark in Big Sky play, which were both two-game improvements from his first season back in Grand Forks.
Schweigert’s defense led the Big Sky in rushing defense for the second straight season under his watch and the offense improved immensely thanks in large part to the record-breaking production of true freshman running back John Santiago.
After a 4-3 start that included the program's first victory over an FBS opponent (24-13 win at Wyoming) and first DI victory over a ranked opponent on the road (19-17 win at No. 16 Portland State), the Fighting Hawks would close the campaign on a three-game winning streak to post the program's first seven-win season since 2011.
Santiago was named the Co-Big Sky Freshman of the Year and collected All-America honors from the Associated Press and STATS, Inc. He was also a unanimous All-Big Sky first team performer and was joined on that team by senior linebacker Will Ratelle and offensive lineman Sean Meehan, who was also named to the AFCA All-America Team.
Eight more Fighting Hawks would garner all-league honors in 2015 as the defense once again ranked among the tops in the Big Sky, ranking first in rush defense and second in total defense.
In the classroom, 17 UND football players were named to the All-Big Sky Academic Team, breaking the previous year's record by one.
In his first season back at UND, Schweigert’s 2014 squad won five games overall, which was a two-game improvement from the previous season. The campaign was highlighted by a 30-28 upset of No. 22 Northern Arizona in the final home game of the season at the Alerus Center.
UND took the positive vibes from a victory that knocked NAU out of the FSC playoff hunt to Greely, Colo., the next Saturday where the team closed out the season with its first Big Sky road win of the season -- a 33-14 defeat of Northern Colorado.
The defensive-minded head coach still works with the team’s cornerbacks and they were part of a unit that led the Big Sky in total defense and rush defense in 2014. Two newcomers earned All-Big Sky Conference honors (KR Alex Tillman and PK Reid Taubenheim) and seven more players were named honorable mention in Schweigert’s first season.
There were also 16 UND football players named to the All-Big Sky Academic team, which tied a program record for individuals honored in one season.
The Zeeland, N.D., native returned to Grand Forks after 10 years away from a program that he helped lead to the 2001 NCAA Division II national title as defensive coordinator.
Prior to his return to UND, Schweigert was the defensive coordinator at Southern Illinois for the previous six seasons (2008-13) and served as associate head coach for the last five of that stretch. His 2010 defense led the Missouri Valley in total defense and his unit finished in the top half of the league in four of his six campaigns at SIU.
In his six seasons at SIU, Schweigert coached three first team All-Americans and 20 all-conference selections (10 first team, six second team, four honorable mentions). His defensive standouts have included linebacker and 2012 graduate Jayson DiManche, currently playing for Cincinnati Bengals, and cornerback Korey Lindsey, a three-time All-American and a 2011 draft pick of the Bengals. In 2013, SIU linebacker Bryan Presume earned first team All-MVFC honors after ranking third in the league with 104 tackles. His 55 solo stops were tops in the conference.
“It is truly an honor and a privilege to serve the University of North Dakota as its head football coach,” said Schweigert at the time of his hiring. “I am looking forward to hiring a staff and building a program that will represent UND in a first-class manner, both on and off the field. We will put forth great effort to facilitate positive relations with fans, alumni, the community and the student body. We look forward to playing exciting championship football in front of thousands of loyal fans as we strive to win the Big Sky Conference championship and, ultimately, reach the pinnacle of FCS football.”
Prior to arriving at SIU, Schweigert took on his first head coaching job at the collegiate level, leading the Division II program at Minnesota Duluth from 2004-07. He guided the Bulldogs to a 22-21 overall record during his tenure, including the program’s first North Central Conference title in 2005. The NCAA playoff berth that season was the program’s second in four seasons. That same season, Schweigert was also named the D2football.com Northwest Region Coach of the Year and the AFCA Division II Coach of the Year for Region 5.
This will be the second stint at UND for Schweigert. He spent 15 seasons as an assistant coach in Grand Forks (1989-2003) where he was part of eight NCAA playoff teams and six NCC title squads.
Schweigert was elevated to defensive coordinator at UND prior to the 1997 season and left for Duluth after the 2003 UND team finished as national runner-up. Schweigert was named the American Football Coaches Association Division II Assistant Coach of the Year in 2000.
In his seven seasons as UND’s defensive coordinator, Schweigert’s defensive players earned 14 All-America honors and 23 first-team All-NCC accolades. His 2001 defense yielded just 191.4 yards of offense and 50.3 rushing yards per game, while limiting opponents to 12.5 points per game on the way to the program’s first national championship.
Schweigert began his coaching career at his alma mater, now the University of Jamestown, from 1985-1988. He earned a bachelor’s degree in business administration from Jamestown and a master’s degree from UND. In 2002, he was honored with Jamestown’s Rollie Greeno Award for outstanding commitment in the field of education and coaching.
Schweigert and his wife, Laura, have two sons, Alex and Cooper.
-- UND --