STEGER RETURNS TO UMD FOOTBALL COACHING STAFF; YELK PROMOTED
Tuesday, June 12, 2012
John Steger, who spent 11 seasons as the University of Minnesota Duluth's defensive coordinator before departing for Southern Illinois University two years ago, is returning to the Bulldog football coaching staff to assume his old position.
Steger, Southern Illinois's inside linebackers coach and special teams coordinator since 2010, will begin his duties at UMD later this month. He replaces Todd Strop, who stepped down this past April for personal reasons following two years as the Bulldogs' defensive coordinator.
"I'm leaving a great place to go to another great place," said Steger. "The last two years have been tremendous in terms of my growth as a coach. I got a chance to work with some outstanding people such as (former Bulldog head coach and current SUI associate coach/defensive coordinator) Bubba Schweigert and (SUI head coach) Dale Lennon and do so at the NCAA IA level. But when the opportunity to come back to UMD presented itself, I knew it was something I couldn't pass up.
"Todd Strop did a terrific job the last two years with the UMD defense so for me, this will be like picking up right where I left off. I am really looking forward to again being part of the Bulldog family and, along with my wife Barb, making Duluth our home again."
The 49-year old Steger first signed on with the Bulldogs in 1999 along with then-rookie coach Bob Nielson and during his tenure UMD consistently ranked among the NCAA Division Il leaders in a host of statistical categories. That included the 2009 season when his troops finished second in the nation in scoring defense (12.5 points per game), fourth in rushing defense (69.1 yards per game) and fifth in total defense (251.0 ypg). In 2008, Steger was chosen as a finalist for the footballscoop.com NCAA Coordinator of the Year Award after the Bulldogs allowed just four defensive touchdowns over the course of UMD's four-game NCAA II national title run. From 1999-2009, the Dubuque, Iowa, native helped produce six All-Americans and 24 All-NSIC/North Central Conference first team selections and was part of four conference championship teams.
Prior to coming to the Twin Ports, Steger was employed for 11 seasons as a defensive coordinator at a pair of NCAA III institutions -- Sul Ross State University in Texas (1988-91) and the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire where he spent his final three years there (1996-98) working for Nielson, then the Blugolds' head coach.
"We are extremely excited to having John back on our staff," said Nielson, who will begin his 10th year of head coaching activity with the Bulldogs this fall. "He's one of the top defensive minds in the country and knows our program, our players and our conference."
Nielson also announced that fourth-year assistant coach Tyler Yelk has been promoted to special teams coordinator. Yelk, a All-American free safety with the Bulldogs as a senior in 2008, will also continue to supervise the defensive secondary and serve as the team's recruiting coordinator.
"Tyler has successfully taken on more and more responsibilities each year since joining our staff and is more than ready to handle this new role," said Nielson. "He'll do an outstanding job."
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