Paul Rudolph is heading back to the coaches' booth, making the switch from head coach to coordinator and from Division II to the Football Championship Subdivision.
Minot State University's head man was named the offensive coordinator at the University of North Dakota on Thursday.
Rudolph, a Stanley native and former MSU quarterback, became the first official hire of new UND head coach Bubba Schweigert, who was previously the defensive coordinator at Southern Illinois. UND finished 3-8 this year and fired Chris Mussman after six seasons.
"I've known Bubba for a long time and competed against him in the old North Central Conference and really respect him," Rudolph said in a press release. "We had some discussions and visited back and forth (after Schweigert was hired at UND). I didn't mind my head coaching job by any means, but really enjoyed calling the offense and calling it from the booth. I feel I've gotten better at it from the sidelines, but there is nothing like doing it from the booth.
"(UND) has won some championships in the past and they made a big move to the Big Sky and it is our task to get them back to winning."
Rudolph took over as head coach at MSU in 2007 and has compiled a 33-40 record, including a 2-9 mark this season. Before that, he was the offensive coordinator at St. Cloud State and head coach at Upper Iowa.
Rudolph navigated MSU through a difficult move from NAIA to NCAA Division II. The Beavers finished 7-25 in three Division II seasons - including one transitional year - after Rudolph posted winning records in his first four seasons at the helm.
"I think he did a great job of building our program up in some tough times with our transition," MSU Athletic Director Rick Hedberg said. "To go through this transition is obviously difficult and I think he did a very good job of continuing to build us into a Division II program."
Schweigert was the defensive coordinator at UND and head coach at Minnesota Duluth during the early 2000s, when he faced Rudolph-led offenses from St. Cloud State.
"He has a great offensive mind, but he also understands how a team's offense fits into the total scheme of how you are going to be successful on the football field," Schweigert said in a press release.
"Coach Rudolph's offensive philosophy fits well with the skill sets that we plan to recruit here to the University of North Dakota and being a North Dakota native, he is very excited to be a part of the staff."
Hedberg said MSU will open a national search for its next head coach and hopes to have someone on board by the end of January. He said it's important to give the current players stability and have a coach in place before national signing day on Feb. 5.
Daniel Allar covers Minot State University athletics. Follow him on Twitter @DAllar_MDN.