Shields intrigued by MSU opportunity
Thursday marked another step closer to a new chapter for the Minot State University football program, as they welcomed Ian Shields to campus as a finalist for the head coaching job.
As a multi-sport athlete at Oregon State University, Shields played quarterback and baseball for the Beavers, before earning his master’s degree and beginning his coaching career there as a graduate assistant.
Before his current position of offensive analyst for the University of Nevada, Las Vegas that Shields has held for three years, he brings a lot of experience to the table from various stops in his coaching career.
He was a four-year head coach at Jacksonville University, two-year head coach at Lenoir-Rhyne University, two-year head coach at Eastern Oregon University, spent five seasons as the associate head coach and offensive coordinator at Army, and spent three seasons as the offensive coordinator at Saint Mary’s among a few other stops.
With being named a finalist for the MSU job, part of the process involves Shields meeting with the Minot community for an open forum, which took place on Thursday.
“I feel like I’m in the sweet spot of my career to drive a program forward,” Shields said regarding the opportunity to become the head football coach at MSU with his 29 years of coaching experience.
Having the opportunity to coach the Beavers intrigues Shields. He shared that he has been an underdog his whole life and has proved people wrong at various stops. Earning a chance to have success somewhere that seems difficult is a situation that he believes he can thrive in.
“I’m excited about the opportunity of doing something at Minot that people say is difficult or challenging, some would even say it’s really tough,” he said.
Shields added, “I realize that, and I also see an opportunity at the same time. I see a great city, I see a community that will rally around its football program, and I think I have the blueprint to move the program forward and win football games.”
If given the chance to coach the Beavers, Shields wants to create the model Division II football program in the region, a program that people admire for all the right reasons. As part of that process, he would like to help the student-athletes become the best versions of themselves and support them academically, athletically, and socially.
On and off the field, Shields’ vision includes having a tough, disciplined, and committed team that gives their full effort in everything they do. Becoming an effort-based program, Shields believes, is vitally important to finding success and winning games.
In addition to placing an emphasis on the importance of effort, Shields would like to focus on making the Beavers not just a physically tough team, but a mentally tough team as well.
In doing research, Shields has found that the city of Minot and Minot State University have a lot to offer. With all the tools at hand and his experience, he believes the time is now for the Beaver football program to take that next step.
“I see it as a great opportunity, the time is right. The timing is right for me personally and professionally and I think the time is right at Minot State to take a step forward in this administration.”
Some of those tools that are already present to help the program become successful are the community that will rally around the team, the great city, the affordability of MSU and the fact that it’s a state school, and having an airport nearby to get recruits in town and to be able to go on visits out of state.
If given the opportunity to become the head football coach at Minot State, the message Shields would have for the current staff is simple. He wants them to embrace change, however, he understands that can be hard, too.
“They have to be open to the possibility that something good can happen. Losing your head coach is not fun. Change is hard, but change is inevitable. I want them to be open and receptive to change and that will help them on and off the field.”
Shields was the last of the finalists to come to campus for an interview, so now fans and community members will have to wait patiently as Kevin Forde, the Director of Athletics at MSU, and the Athletic Department determine who will lead the Beavers football program.