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Bohl signs contract extension to stay as Bison football coach through 2016

Craig Bohl

FARGO - Craig Bohl came to North Dakota State in 2003, his eighth stop in what is now a 30-year football coaching career. At this rate, he may retire here.

The Bison head coach signed a new contract this week that will keep him at NDSU through 2016. His base salary beginning Friday will be $196,668, but incentives could push the deal well over $300,000.

That would include a nearly full Fargodome, where Bohl receives 3 percent of gross ticket sales for regular-season games. Last year, that came to $38,969 with the Bison averaging 15,944 fans per game.

NDSU averaged 11,567 fans in 2003 with a high of 18,141 in 2007.

"I think he's very happy here and he sees a program where he can keep having success," said NDSU athletic director Gene Taylor.

Bohl would get $10,000 for a Missouri Valley Football Conference title, $5,000 for each Division I Football Championship Subdivision home playoff game (away games get him $2,500) and $15,000 for an NCAA championship ($10,000 for a loss in the title game).

If every bonus is met and he equaled last year's attendance clause, his total compensation for the upcoming year could peak at $345,637. That does not include standard perks like use of a vehicle, country club membership and income from summer football camp that would exceed a $5,000 guarantee.

Bohl was on vacation Wednesday and unavailable for comment. In a university release, he said, "I sincerely appreciate the University's commitment to me and to the future of Bison football."

The agreement includes a family benefits package that provides tuition, room and board waiver to Bohl's children at NDSU or Minnesota State Moorhead. A "media appearance fee" of $60,000 consists mainly of a television coaches show and a weekly radio show.

The contract is subject to annual two-year rollovers in 2016.

The contract also includes cash bonus for the Bison assistants for conference championships and playoff games with a maximum of $3,500 per year. Bohl's prior contract gave assistants travel vouchers of the same value.

Bohl is 61-30 in his eight years at NDSU, tied with Ron Erhardt for the second-most victories in school history. Rocky Hager was 91-25-1 in 10 seasons.

At eight years, Bohl is the third longest-tenured head coach in program history behind C.C. Finnegan's 13 years and Hager.

Bohl and Taylor came to an agreement in principle in March, but a series of contract language technicalities pushed the signing date to this week.

Taylor figures the total package still does not put him in the top five in the Division I Football Championship Subdivision.

"But pretty close to it," he said.

Bohl signed a seven-year contract in 2005 at a salary of $124,000. That deal was re-worked in 2008 at $174,000 plus the added bonus structure.

The performance bonuses with the new deal have not changed.

"I think he wants to stay here and hopefully be in Frisco some day," said Taylor, referring to the FCS title game in Frisco, Texas.

Forum reporter Jeff Kolpack can be reached at (701) 241-5546. Kolpack's NDSU media blog can be found at