MSU names finalists for football coach

A pool of more than 100 candidates for the Minot State University football head coach opening has been trimmed to three.

On Thursday, MSU Athletic Director Rick Hedberg named three finalists for the position: Mike Aldrich, Todd Hoffner and Aaron Vlcko.

MSU will begin on-campus interviews this weekend. The finalists will meet with faculty, staff and student-athletes, as well as partake in an open forum for community members. Vlcko is scheduled to interview Saturday, while Hoffner will be on campus Monday and Aldrich on Tuesday.

“We are very happy with the individuals we have joining us for on-campus interviews,” Hedberg said in a press release. “We had a large pool, but more importantly we had some real depth, some quality applicants.”

The new coach will replace Paul Rudolph, who resigned on Jan. 2 after seven seasons and is now the offensive coordinator at University of North Dakota.

Hedberg noted that extensive Division II coaching experience and familiarity with the Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference were important factors in the coaching search. Aldrich and Hoffner have spent time as head coach of NSIC programs, while Vlcko served as offensive coordinator at Bemidji State for seven seasons.

Aldrich, currently the defensive coordinator at Wayne State (Neb.), helmed Augustana from 2010-2012. In 2010, he led the Vikings to a school-record 11 wins and an NCAA playoff berth en route to being named a finalist for the Liberty Mutual national coach of the year.

Hoffner, an Esmond, N.D., native, coached the Minnesota State-Mankato program from 2008-2012, compiling a 34-13 record. His team claimed the NSIC title in 2011, along with NSIC South Division championships in 2008 and 2009. He is a Valley City State alumnus.

Vlcko, the offensive coordinator at Division III Wisconsin-Stevens Point, spent 1998-2003 in the same position at Bemidji State. He also currently doubles as the quarterbacks and running backs coach for the Pointers. In 2012, he served a one-year stint as Stevens Point’s defensive coordinator.

Ryan Holmgren covers Minot High athletics and general assignments. Follow him on Twitter @ryanholmgren.