Click on the link below to cast your Vote for Bob Nielson, Liberty Mutual Coach of the Year!
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Vote for UMD's Bob Nielson for COACH OF THE YEAR
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The Liberty Mutual Coach of the Year Award recognizes the college football coach in each NCAA division that best demonstrates sportsmanship, integrity, responsibility, and excellence.
Make sure to click on the Division II tab in the Fan Vote Leaders box. Fans are allowed to vote once a day from each of their computers from Sept. 14-Dec.4.
Bob Nielson has always had a knack for putting college football programs back on the winning track. After returning to the UMD sidelines following a four-season hiatus, Nielson proceeded to oversee one of the most impressive one-season turnarounds in NCAA Division II history, taking a club which had gone 4-6 in 2007 and molding it into a national champion. Along the way, his Bulldogs amassed a 15-0 overall mark (only the third NCAA II team to ever accomplish that feat), set or equalled 50 team and individual record, captured the NSIC title by going 10-0 and turned out a whopping nine All-Americans and 17 All-NSIC honorees.
Nielson, who spent five seasons as UMD head coach until stepping down in 2003, officially began his second tour of duty on Jan. 3, 2008, succeeding Kyle “Bubba” Schweigert. Nielson continues to double as UMD’s director of intercollegiate athletics, a position he’s held since the 2003-04 season.
Named the 2008 NCAA II Coach of the Year by American Football Monthly magazine, and NSIC Coach of the Year by the Football Gazette, Nielson owns an impressive 64-21 overall record at UMD. During his first five years with the Bulldogs, Nielson helped take UMD football to new heights. In 2002, for example, his Bulldogs posted their first 11-0 regular season record ever, advanced to the NCAA Division II playoffs for the first time and captured the NSIC championship.
In 2000, Nielson’s second year in the Twin Ports, the Bulldogs went 7-4 -- their first winning season since 1996 -- while experiencing their greatest one-season improvement to that point (they managed a 3-8 mark the previous fall). The 2002 NSIC Coach of the Year and a runnerup for the American Football Monthly magazine NCAA II Coach of the Year award that same year, Nielson joined the UMD staff after experiencing a substantial amount of success at the NCAA III level.
Before coming to UMD, Nielson coached the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire football team from 1995-1998. He served as the head football and director of athletics at his alma mater, Wartburg College, from 1991-1995. Nielson began his head coaching career at Ripon (Wis.) College from 1988-1991. He servesd as assistant coach and defensive coordinator at Wartburg College from 1981-1988.
Nielson earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in physical education from Wartburg College in 1982 and a Master’s degree in physical education from the University of Northern Iowa six years later. He and his wife, Terri, have three children -- Amanda, and twins Kyle and Kasey -- and reside in Hermantown.