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Communication Associate: Public Relations | Lori Melton | | (218) 726-8830

December 21, 2012
Gina Katzmark | Director of External Affairs | 218 726-6141 |
Bob Nygaard | Sports Information Director | 218 726-8191 |


University of Minnesota Duluth offensive coordinator Curt Wiese has been appointed the Bulldogs' new head football coach while longtime UMD athletic department staff member Karen Stromme will assume the role of interim athletic director, UMD Chancellor Lendley Black announced today.

Those two positions were previously held by Bob Nielson, who resigned from UMD earlier this week to take over as the head football coach at Western Illinois University.

"Over the past few days, I have talked with many people who offered overwhelming support for Curt Wiese to be promoted to the position of head football coach," said Black. "I repeatedly heard about the strength of the UMD football program and the respect Curt has among his coaching peers. It is important to me to have continuity in Bulldog football and to position the program to go to new heights of excellence. I am confident that Curt is the right person for the job.

"Karen is certainly the most qualified person to step in and serve in the role of interim athletic director because she has worked closely with Bob Nielson on many aspects of UMD Athletics. Throughout her tenure as women's head basketball coach, assistant athletic director, and as the senior woman administrator, she has worked very hard, shown her dedication, and she is someone I have the trust and confidence in to lead us through this transition."

Wiese, 36, who becomes just the sixth head coach in the 80-year history of Bulldog football, joined the UMD staff on Feb. 12, 2008. During his five years as commander of UMD's offense, the Bulldogs finished near the top of the NCAA II leader board four times in scoring (third this past fall with a school-record 46.5 points per game average, fifth in 2008, sixth in 2010 and ninth three years ago) and this year possessed the nation's seventh best rushing attack (after ranking seventh, fourth, and third, respectively, in that department the previous three seasons). In addition, no less than 15 of his pupils have landed some kind of All-American recognition, including a pair of Harlon Hill Award finalists -- quarterback Ted Schlafke, the school's career passing and total offense leader, and running back Isaac Odim, UMD's all-time top ground gainer and scorer and the holder of 17 school records.

Since Wiese's arrival at UMD, the Bulldogs have gone 62-7 (a record unmatched by any NCAA II school), captured two NCAA II national championships (2008 and 2010), four Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference titles and five NSIC North Division crowns, made five NCAA II playoff appearances and produced two perfect 15-0 seasons.

Wiese came to UMD following two years of employment as the head coach at NCAA Division III member Marietta College (Ohio). He compiled a 9-11 career overall record with the Pioneers, including a 6-4 markin 2006. The Stoughton, Wis., native signed on with the Marietta football program in 2003 when he became the team's offensive coordinator -- a duty he continued to maintain after he was elevated to head coach. In five years of directing the Marietta offense, Wiese helped churn out two All-Americans, 12 All-Ohio Athletic Conference selections and five Academic All-OAC honorees and was a finalist for the American Football Coaches Association Division III Assistant Coach of the Year Award in 2004.

Prior to his move to Marietta, Wiese worked as a graduate assistant at the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire, tutoring the tight ends for two years and the offensive line for one season. He entered the coaching arena a little over a decade ago on the heels of a four-year collegiate playing career. After three seasons at Minnesota State University-Mankato (1995-97), Wiese transferred to the University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point, where as a senior in 1998, he quarterbacked the Pointers to a share of the Wisconsin Intercollegiate Athletic Conference title.

Wiese, graduated from MSU-Mankato in 2000 with a B.A. degree in technology education and received a Master's degree in educational professional development from Wisconsin-Eau Claire two years later.

"I would like to thank Chancellor Black and his staff for giving me this opportunity," said Wiese. "Since coming to UMD five years ago, I have had the chance to grow professionally, coach a tremendous group of student-athletes, and be part of a program that has enjoyed a great deal of success both on and off the football field. It is my hope to continue this tradition of excellence and reach even greater heights."

Stromme, 53, is in her 30th year with UMD athletics and since 2003-04 has served as its assistant athletic director and senior woman administrator. She has extensive Division II committee experience, having previously worked on the Committee on Infractions, the Membership Committee and the Student-Athlete Advisory Committee, among others and this past November was elected vice chair of the NCAA Division II Management Council.

Over the course of her 21 years as head coach with the Bulldog women's basketball program (1984-2005), Stromme compiled a 440-184 overall record (for a .705 winning percentage, the best mark in school history) and posted 21 consecutive winning seasons. She also guided the Bulldogs to 12 NSIC titles, four of a possible five NSIC Tournament championships, eight NCAA II North Central Regional playoff berths and seven appearances in the NAIA National Tournament.

Stromme, who first enlisted her services with the Bulldogs as an assistant women's basketball coach in 1983-84, is a past president of the NAIA Women's Basketball Coaches Association, past chair for the Kodak All-American Team Selection Committee and chairperson of the USA Basketball Team Selection Committee for the 1996 and 2000 Olympic Games. She also was an assistant coach for Team East at the 1995 U.S. Olympic Festival and was among the official travel party for Team USA, which won the women's basketball gold medal at the 2000 Summer Olympics in Sydney, Australia.

A native of Duluth, Stromme is a member of the UMD Athletic Hall of Fame (Class of 2011), the Minnesota Girl's Basketball Coaches Association Hall of Fame (Class of 2008) and the St. Olaf College Athletic Hall of Fame (Class of 1994). She owns a B.S. degree in sociology from St. Olaf and a Master's degree in education from UMD (2005).

"Over the past 30 years, I have felt privileged and honored to be a part of UMD athletics as a coach and administrator," said Stromme. "This is another opportunity for me to be engaged with the great Bulldog traditions. The UMD Department of Intercollegiate Athletics has always worked hard to achieve excellence. The administration, coaches, and staff will continue that while being student-athlete centered through our commitment to high achievement in the classroom and competition."

A national search for a permanent athletic director will begin immediately with the position expected to be filled this spring.

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