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Time to move on, restore Bohl’s image

FARGO — The image will not be soon forgotten by those of us who saw it outside a Toyota Stadium locker room in Frisco, Texas. Craig Bohl was walking west and Chris Klieman was walking east.

As they passed each other, one was looking north and the other was looking south. Perhaps we read too much into the body language, but the word that tension existed between the two in the two weeks leading up to the Division I FCS title game sure got a boost by that 10-second video snap shot.

Further tension was heightened by the recruiting factor. The verbiage in Bohl’s contract stipulated that if he left NDSU, he was not allowed to talk to Bison recruits. There were those who remained in Fargo who questioned if the new Wyoming staff actually did that.

Wednesday was national signing day and this much can be said about that issue: If Bohl did indeed go after his old school’s recruits, not much came of it. Furthermore, I think we all can agree: it’s time to bury this story six feet under and cover it with concrete.

It’s also time to 100 percent restore Bohl’s status at NDSU: he’s the greatest football coach who ever walked on Dacotah Field, Fargodome or whatever stadium they had back in the cow pasture days.

He’s the leader in all-time victories, but the manner in which Bohl achieved that will never be appreciated by future generations. He took a program through a Division I reclassification and turned it into one of the greatest runs in FCS history.

The program was in a downward spiral when he accepted the job in 2003. No other qualified coach in the country wanted to touch it.

You can also pen this status to Bohl’s name: He is one of two coaches that can be considered the best-ever at the school in any sport — equaling Amy Ruley, who won five national women’s basketball titles, including three in a row.

Bohl equaled Ruley’s consecutive national title streak when the Bison defeated Towson University (Md.) last month for their third straight FCS championship. Whether you had a problem with the recruiting conundrum in December and January, it’s time to put that behind.

The athletic director has.

“It’s over,” Gene Taylor said. “No big deal.”

Taylor, in a Forum story, considered withholding Bohl’s bonuses that amounted to $40,000 if the situation didn’t get rectified. Bohl can now take that cash and put it toward a ranch in Laramie.

I once wrote that former university president Joe Chapman should have a street named after him, since he is the guy that raised the profile of the school more than anybody else ever did. I’m not sure what you can name after Bohl and Ruley, but there has to be something out there.

This recruiting hassle will not be a part of Bohl’s legacy. For one, the current Bison football staff did a fine job of retaining the commitments. Secondly, looking at the whole body of work, it hardly qualifies as a blip in Bohl’s 11-year history at the school.

Erhardt. Mudra. Morton. Solomonson, Hager. He passed them all.

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.