Campus Updates - Football
The UMD Bulldogs have once again won the NCAA Division II Championship by defeating Delta State University at Braly Municipal Stadium in Florence, Alabama on December 18. A Bulldog field goal in the last three seconds of the fourth quarter clinched the win for UMD with a score of 20-17. UMD took home its second national championship and became the first NCAA II club ever to go 15-0 in a season more than once, duplicating their record in 2008. Only eight other schools have claimed multiple titles.
“What a great game,” said UMD Head Coach Bob Nielson. “It was one of those days when both teams had an opportunity to win, and it could have gone either way. We just kept plugging away and believing, and when you do that, good things usually happen.”
In addition to being impressive on the field, the UMD football team is also impressive in the classroom. After the 2010 spring semester, 40 of the players had a GPA higher than 3.0, 13 with a 3.5+, and 2 had a perfect 4.0. They also had 15 NSIC players on the All Academic team
Team co-captain Isaac Odim was selected the 2010 ESPN Academic All-American of the Year for football (college division). Odim, who sustained a season-ending knee injury, maintains a 3.86 cumulative grade point average as a mechanical engineering major and was also named as one of 16 winners of the National Football Foundation Scholar-Athlete Award. A two-time ESPN ll-Academic All-America first team selection (2009 and 2010), Odim owns virtually all of UMD’s single-season and career rushing, scoring, touchdown, and all-purpose yardage records.
Under Nielson’s direction, Bulldog players have garnered some impressive honors. This year, nine UMD football players earned NCIS All-Academic Team recognition and senior inside linebacker Kiel Fechtelkotter became the seventh Bulldog ever to be chosen to the Associated Press Little All-America first team.
Photo: Coach Bob Nielson raises the NCAA Division II trophy. Celebrating are linebacker Robbie Aurich (l), team co-captains Isaac Odim (hidden), Kyle Fechtelkotter, and Grady Liles (r), who established the championship game in Florence.
UMD football Head Coach Bob Nielson was named Liberty Mutual’s NCAA Division II Football Coach of the Year on January 10, 2011. Nielson received the most fan votes in NCAA Div. II and was also chosen by the College Football Hall of Fame and national media voters.
Nielson received two additional recognitions. He was named the NSIC Coach of the Year Award for the third time. He was also named Division II Coach of the Year by the American Football Coaches Association.
“The Coach of the Year award is a testament to Bob’s commitment as a leader and a teacher. It is a wonderful distinction and richly deserved,” said Chancellor Lendley C. Black. With this honor, Liberty Mutual awarded $50,000 to be dispersed among Duluth area charities. Coach Nielson designated the Boys and Girls Club of the Northland, Mentor Duluth, Northern Lights Foundation, UDAC (STEPS Program), and Peace in Christ United Church in Hermantown, Minn. to assist with construction of a new youth activity center.
In addition, Liberty Mutual donated $20,000 to UMD Alumni student scholarships and programs. The majority of the Alumni Association funds will endow the UMD Alumni Scholarship which offers financial aid and networking opportunities to children and grandchildren of UMD alumni. Through the help of alumni, friends, a gift from alumnus Al Willman ’50 and the gift from Liberty Mutual, the scholarship fund has been fully endowed, ensuring the legacy of UMD alumni for generations to come.
Alumni Director Patty Delano said UMD’s relationship with Liberty Mutual is more than offering group discount insurance rates to alumni. “They have become a committed partner. They have sponsored alumni events such as the Grandma’s Marathon Hospitality Tent, Break the Ice party at TCF Stadium and our graduating senior party at Glensheen Historic Estate,” she said. “Visit www.libertymutual.com/umduluth to learn more. I am grateful to them but also to all the fans who supported the Vote for Bob Nielson campaign with their votes.”
Photo: Bob Nielsen gives high five’s to students at L.E. Willson Elementary School in Sheffield, Ala. on December 17 during a team visit to the school.