Ryan introduces Zach Rudolph as head football coach

On Wednesday, Bishop Ryan dismissed football coach Brad Borkhuis, months after the school’s most successful season in more than a decade.

At a press conference Monday, the school introduced his replacement: former Minot State defensive coordinator Zach Rudolph.

Now in the first head coaching position of his career, Rudolph hopes to continue the same brand of success Ryan has enjoyed over the last few seasons.

“I’m gonna work hard,” Rudolph said, “and that won’t just be me, that will be an entire coaching staff and the entire school.”

A 2012 MSU graduate and former wide receiver for the Beavers, Rudolph formerly served as a graduate assistant at Southern Illinois, an FCS program in the Missouri Valley Football Conference.

He accepted a physical education and health teaching position at Ryan on May 5, which prompted his consideration for a coaching job. Ryan coaching contracts include a policy that allows full-time staff members to replace incumbent coaches.

Rudolph will also serve as Ryan’s head track and field coach.

“I’ve done that before in the past, and I look forward to doing it again,” Rudolph said.

Borkhuis led Ryan to an appearance in the state semifinals last season, evidence of the program’s steady growth throughout his four-year tenure.

In order to continue that growth, Borkhuis believes Rudolph must maintain the “principle-based” focus of the program.

The Lions will lose seven key seniors to graduation this spring, including Class AA outstanding senior athlete Mason Kramer and first-team all-state quarterback Austin Eggl.

But that isn’t to say Ryan won’t be competitive, according to Borkhuis.

“If anybody is writing this team off next year, they’re going to be in for a big surprise,” Borkhuis said. “They’re excellent, hard-working kids, and in Class AA football, that’s gonna take you a long way.”

Rudolph hopes to pick up where his predecessor left off.

The Lions finished the 2010 season 3-5 and have improved each year since then, culminating in a 10-1 finish last season.

“He did a great job,” he said. “I want to continue making good decisions and working hard. That’s really the only two things you can do.”

With 1,230 career receiving yards and six touchdowns to his name as an MSU wideout, Rudolph is already familiar with the local football scene.

Though more than two years removed from his playing days, Rudolph is confident that his passion for the game will carry over to his new team.

“I never lose the passion for football,” he said. “That will translate easily.”

Rudolph hopes to eventually bring “five to six” coaches onto his staff, all of which he said will be “good people.”

Surrounding himself with good people seemed to be of particular importance to the new Ryan coach, something that he claims was a factor in his decision to join the Ryan faculty.

“I student-taught here before,” Rudolph said. “I enjoyed the heck out of my time here; good people, and I loved working with everyone. So when we got to talking, I knew it was going to be a good fit because I’ve been here before, and this is where I wanted to be.”

Joe Mellenbruch covers high school sports and general assignments. Follow him on Twitter @Mellenbruch_MDN.