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Kolpack: Vigen’s say goodbye to NDSU, follow Bohl to Wyoming

FNS Photo by Carrie Snyder North Dakota State head coach Craig Bohl celebrates the team’s win over Towson during the FCS National Championship game on Saturday at Toyota Stadium in Frisco, Texas.

FRISCO, Texas — It was a collection of thousands and thousands of hellos and a few goodbyes on Saturday afternoon at Toyota Stadium. Hello history, it’s nice to meet you. My name is North Dakota State, and you can put us in that dynasty category, thank you very much.

The third straight Division I FCS national title cemented the deal. The final was 35-7 over Towson University (Md.), and as the trophy ceremony unfolded, also known as the biggest party in Frisco, Molly Vigen had a nice view from the stage overlooking the field.

This was one of those few goodbyes. Bison offensive coordinator Brent Vigen and his wife — Mr. and Mrs. NDSU — are moving on.

She came to NDSU as a women’s basketball recruit from Alexandria, Minn., who played on a national championship team. Brent was a Bison football player from Buxton. They met through athletics and remained in Fargo because of athletics.

“We’ll always be here in spirit,” Molly said. “A part of us will always be here.”

Brent is following head coach Craig Bohl to the University of Wyoming. It ends 21 years of being either a player or a coach at the school.

He’s so engrained in the football program that he’s been a part of every Fargodome game since the place opened in 2003.

“It’s been a heck of a deal for a guy from a small town in North Dakota to be a part of the program as long as I have,” Vigen said.

The crossroads came in 2003 when Bob Babich moved to the NFL and Bohl was hired. Vigen said he listened to the news conference and noticed Bohl was big on being modest, so he thought he would take that approach in trying to land a spot on Bohl’s staff.

It almost cost him.

“I remember the very first time I talked to him, he was a young guy and I asked him to start talking about himself,” Bohl said. “He started to blush. He said, ‘I’m pretty modest, I have a pretty hard time talking about myself.’ I said, ‘You have about an hour to save your job, so you better start talking.’ And he did.”

He eventually ascended to the offensive coordinator role, although he took his share of blows from the public.

“I know there is nobody who has been criticized more than Brent Vigen,” Bohl said.

Those comments steadily went away the last three years. Winning will do that.

He’s leaving his alma mater in top-notch shape. Bohl’s announcement came last month, but the staff remained to finish the season.

“It’s been emotional,” Molly said, “but we’re looking forward to the next chapter and the next adventure for our family.”

Their three boys are ages 9, 6 and 2. She said when the decision was made to go to Wyoming, Brent told the boys they can always wear Bison gear.

“We just felt like this is the right time,” Brent said. “You spend a couple decades at a place like I have, you just feel like this is the time to move on. It’s time to challenge ourselves as a staff and challenge myself as a coach to get better.”

The family didn’t leave the stage without posing for a photo with the national championship trophy. That will probably be on a wall of family photos in Laramie. By today, Wyoming will be on the coordinator’s mind.

Goodbye NDSU.

“It’s just been home,” Molly said. “It’s been such a great place as a young couple to start out in our careers, raising a family. Watching our kids grow up here, we’ve been so blessed.”

As for the team, hello record books.

That was one Texas-sized season.

Kolpack is a sports reporter for The Forum of Fargo-Moorhead, which is owned by Forum News Service.

Jeff Kolpack
Jeff Kolpack covers North Dakota State athletics, the Fargo Marathon and golf for The Forum. His blog can be accessed at On the radio, Kolpack & Izzo sports talk show runs from 9-11 a.m. every Saturday morning. April through August, the WDAY Golf Show with Jeff Kolpack runs from 8-9 a.m.