In his first official hire as the University of North Dakota head football coach, Bubba Schweigert appointed Paul Rudolph to the position of offensive coordinator on his staff on Thursday. Rudolph brings 23 years of collegiate coaching experience to the program, including 16 as a head coach. He won two conference titles and made two playoff appearances during stops as a head coach at Upper Iowa (1992-2000) and Minot State (2007-2013) and was a successful offensive coordinator at St. Cloud State in between those two stints.
“I’m really excited to have Paul Rudolph join the staff. He has been a successful coach in the upper Midwest for a number of years,” Schweigert said. “He has a great offensive mind, but he also understands how a team’s offense fits into the total scheme of how you are going to be successful on the football field.
“Coach Rudolph’s offensive philosophy fits well with the skill sets that we plan to recruit here to the University of North Dakota and being a North Dakota native, he is very excited to be a part of the staff. He brings with him a strong work ethic, which is one of the most important qualities I’m looking for in the coaches that I decide to bring on board here.”
Rudolph’s last seven years as a head coach were spent in Minot where he helped lead the Beavers through a transition from the NAIA level to NCAA Division II status. He led MSU to a pair of DAC titles during his tenure in the Magic City and was named the DAC Coach of the Year in his first season in 2007. The Beavers earned a playoff berth in 2009, which was the school’s first appearance since 2001.
“I’m humbled, honored and excited. All of those emotions wound up into one ball,” Rudolph said. “My truest connection with Coach Schweigert was as competitors in the old North Central Conference days, but I’ve always had a tremendous amount of respect for him and thought he possessed one of the better minds in football. I’m really looking forward to coming to work for him there at UND.”
A Stanley, N.D., native, the coaching veteran earned Schweigert’s respect when the two squared off against each during their respective NCC tenures. Rudolph was the offensive coordinator and offensive line coach at St. Cloud State from 2000-2006 when Schweigert was the defensive coordinator at UND and head coach at Minnesota-Duluth.
“His offenses were always physical and very difficult to defend when we were going up against him at St. Cloud State,” Schweighert added. “What made them difficult and what I thought he did a very good job of was tutoring his quarterbacks. They took care of the football and were very good decision makers.
“The other thing he brought to the offensive game was a physical, balanced-attack. If you stopped one area of the offense, he was going to attack you with the other one. He was a difficult coach to prepare for.”
While with the Huskies, Rudolph’s offense broke 26 single-season school records and 21 more single-game records. He helped lead SCSU to the NCAA Division II playoffs in 2004 and a 2002 North Central Conference title.
Before moving onto SCSU, Rudolph spent 10 seasons at Upper Iowa, including the last eight as the Peacocks head coach. He was named the Iowa Intercollegiate Athletic Conference Coach of the Year in 1992 when his team’s offense ranked second nationally with 456.8 yards per game. Rudolph also served as the athletics director at Upper Iowa from 1996-2000.
Rudolph and his wife, Renae, have three children, Zachary, McKenzie and Creighton. Zachary, a former wide receiver, played underneath his father for four seasons at Minot State.
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