PHILADELPHIA, Dec. 17, 2012 /PRNewswire/ -- (Sports Network) - Craig Bohl accomplished in the 2011 season what he sets out to do every year as North Dakota State's head football coach - win the FCS national championship.
The 2012 season furthered an even bigger picture for the Bison.
North Dakota State didn't let up from 2011 as it was the No. 1-ranked team for much of the 2012 regular season, winning 10 of its 11 games with the best defense in the Football Championship Subdivision. That the Bison's national championship team has developed into a perennial national power is part of the reason Monday night that Bohl was named the 2012 Eddie Robinson Award for FCS coach of the year.
A national panel of sports information and media relations directors, broadcasters, writers and other dignitaries selected the 26th annual award. Bohl received 42 of the 145 and 364 points. Villanova's Andy Talley, who presented Bohl with the Robinson Award at the national awards banquet, finished second, and Eastern Illinois first-year coach Dino Babers was third.
"What has occurred now is you get your best shot from everybody," said the 45-year-old Bohl, who is in his 10th season as NDSU's head coach. "Every Saturday, people recognize that you're a program that has won a championship.
"We're fortunate, I think we've got some pretty good athletes within our program. We're certainly not as experienced this year as what we were last year. What we've tried to do is just really rely on a lot of the legacy that the seniors have left before."
North Dakota State has a rich football tradition, with nine national championships, and Bohl has led the Bison since they first made the transition from NCAA Division II to the FCS level in 2003. Nine of his 10 teams have had winning records and four have won at least 10 games.
This year's team has won three playoff games while improving to 13-1 and will try to win a second straight national title on Jan. 5 in Frisco, Texas.
Bohl arrived in Fargo, N.D., from the University of Nebraska, where he coached under the legendary Tom Osborne. He credits the work of his assistant coaches and how the Bison have utilized the same defensive system over the last 10 years, recruiting to its strength. The Bison allowed only 11.8 points and 195.7 yards per game during the regular season.
"Certainly you're gonna begin to take on likenesses of people who you looked up to," Bohl said. "Coach Osborne is my mentor. I had an opportunity to play for him, I was a graduate assistant coach for him and then later on was a full-time coach. Coach Osborne was very consistent. I thought he had great qualities as far as never getting too high or too low and operating within systems and developing a long-term approach as opposed to having the real emotional roller coaster. I'd like to think that some of his characteristics have been passed on to me, and I'd like to emulate them."
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