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FOOTBALL: Bagnell accepts U-Mary head coaching job

BISMARCK, N.D. -- Bemidji State offensive coordinator Craig Bagnell was introduced as the new head football coach at the University of Mary, his alma mater, on Tuesday in Bismarck, N.D.

Bagnell spent three seasons as the Beavers’ offensive coordinator after joining the staff as a graduate assistant coach during the 2014 season.

Craig Bagnell

The Polson, Mont., native quarterbacked U-Mary for four seasons (2010-13) and set multiple program records before graduating in 2013, finishing as the school's all-time leader in passing yards (9,170), touchdowns (75), completions (759) and completion percentage (.620).

“I’m excited and happy to return to Bismarck and the University of Mary,” Bagnell said in a news release. “The opportunity to come back to my alma mater is one I had always hoped for but not something I expected to happen so early in my coaching career. I am eagerly looking forward to this opportunity.”

During his time at BSU, Bagnell coached quarterback Jordan Hein and the Beaver offense to new heights, including its first postseason win in program history in the 2016 Mineral Water Bowl. Bemidji State finished first in the Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference in passing with 2,082 yards and 26 touchdowns in 2017, while Hein extended his own BSU program records at quarterback.

Bemidji State finished 8-3 this season and averaged more than 400 yards and 35 points per game, the second-best total in the NSIC. Six offensive players earned all-league honors, including Hein for a third straight year.

At 27, Bagnell will be the youngest head coach in NCAA football.

“The University of Mary couldn't have made a better decision on bringing Craig Bagnell back to Bismarck to lead the program,” said BSU head coach Brent Bolte in the release. “Craig's football knowledge and coaching ability go well beyond his years. His best attribute is that he has outstanding character and a commitment to not only to the game but also the staff and, most importantly, his players.

“Craig's accomplishments while leading our offense are too many to list, but he has helped rewrite our record book on the offensive side of the ball. Without a doubt people in this conference knew they were in for a daunting challenge while facing our offense.”