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NSIC (well, Minnesota Duluth) Tidbits
December 20, 2012 - Staff Blog
A couple of noteworthy nuggets have come in from the Minnesota Duluth football program this week.
-- The Bulldogs are losing Bob Nielson, their coach and athletic director. Nielson has resigned from both positions in order to accept the head coaching job at Western Illinois University, a Football Championship Subdivision program.
Nielson led UMD to its only two national championships (2008 and 2010) and coached the Bulldogs to six Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference titles in 10 seasons, including four in a row from '08-11. He finishes his tenure with a 100-26 record.
A Duluth News Tribune story on Nielson's departure can be found here.
--UMD offensive lineman Garth Heikkinen was given the Gene Upshaw Division II Lineman of the Year award on Thursday. The award is given to the top junior or senior offensive or defensive lineman in Division II.
Heikkinen grew up in Duluth and is the first four-time all-NSIC performer in UMD history. He is also a two-time All-American.
I interviewed the 6-foot-4, 315-pounder in October after UMD beat Minot State 44-6 and was impressed with how he made 315 pounds look natural.
His hand totally swallowed mine when I shook it, and after I got done interviewing him, his dad wanted to make sure he would be able to read a copy of my story. I got the impression that the best D-II lineman in the country wasn't a popular interview choice. The big fellas never get any love, but maybe Heikkinen will get more after this honor.
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