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Nielson Leaving UMD to Coach Western Illinois

Posted at: 12/19/2012 11:30 AM
Updated at: 12/19/2012 11:14 PM
By: Dan Williamson

Duluth, Minn. - Bob Nielson is leaving his positions as athletic director and head football coach at Minnesota-Duluth to accept the head football coaching position at Western Illinois.

The Fighting Leathernecks compete in Division I FCS and went 3-8 in 2012. Nielson replaces Mark Hendrickson, who was recently fired.

In 10 seasons (1999-2003, 2008-2012) as UMD's football coach, Nielson won 100 games and lead the Bulldogs to Division II National Championships in 2008 and 2010.  Nielson stepped away from coaching after the 2003 season to concentrate on his athletic director duties, before returning to the sidelines in 2008.

“We hate to lose Bob, but understand this is a well-deserved opportunity for him to coach at the Division I level," said UMD chancellor Lendley Black. "We wish him and his family the best. Bob's legacy includes multiple national championships in football and men's and women's hockey, as well as excellence in both the athletic and academic performance of UMD student-athletes in many sports. We are committed to upholding the quality of UMD athletics, including the football team, and will move quickly to designate Bob’s successors.”

(Bob Nygaard contributed to this article)