Western Illinois tabs Nielson as head football coach

1:00 PM, Dec 19, 2012   |    comments
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Macomb, IL (Sports Network) - Bob Nielson was a national championship-winning coach at Minnesota Duluth.

Western Illinois believes Nielson can help take its football program to a higher level as well.

The Missouri Valley Football Conference university named Nielson as its new head football coach on Wednesday.

He replaces Mark Hendrickson, who was fired last month after a 3-8 season.

In 10 seasons at Minnesota Duluth, the 53-year-old Nielson's squads posted a 100-26 record, won two NCAA II championships, five Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference titles and made the playoffs six times. His teams had three perfect 11-0 regular seasons.

Nielson prebiously was the head coach at two Division III colleges, his alma mater, Wartburg (Iowa), and Ripon (Wis.). He has a 170-59-1 career record.

Nielson is charged with lifting a Western Illinois program that most recently made the FCS playoffs in 2010, but is 5-17 over the last two seasons, including a 2-14 record in the Missouri Valley Conference.

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