U-Mary hires former NAIA national football champion coach as an assistant

 Photo courtesy: University of Mary
Photo courtesy: University of Mary (KFYR)
Published: Feb. 10, 2020 at 11:20 AM CST
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When Mike Van Diest was the head football coach at Carroll College, he recruited Polson, Montana's Craig Bagnell heavily.

Bagnell chose to play quarterback at the University of Mary and now as the Marauders head coach, he just recruited Van Diest to join his staff.

Van Diest is one of the all-time greats in NAIA. Carroll won six national championships with Van Diest as a coach. He was the head coach there for 19 seasons and his record in a dominating 203-54.

Van Diest left coaching to watch his son play his final year of hockey at the University of Wisconsin.

"You can't gain the amount of knowledge that he has just by reading a book and going through a couple of years. If you look back at his career and what he's done it didn't just start at Carroll. He worked at Wyoming and Northwestern and U-Mass and he was the head coach at Carroll College and had a ton of success and won six NAIA national championships for a reason so we're definitely excited to have him. I know he's going to not only bring a lot of energy and juice but he's also a very knowledgeable guy who's going to help our defense out working with Coach Davis and Coach Splon be able to expand on some things especially when it comes to game planning," Bagnell said.

Van Diest is in both the NAIA and Carroll College Hall of Fame.

He's been chosen National Coach of the Year four times by his peers and in 2005 he even coached the Hula Bowl.

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