Sports

The Man Behind UMD’s Championship Wins

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(credit: CBS) Mike Max
Mike Max returned to WCCO-TV as a sports reporter and anchor in Apr...
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By Mike Max, WCCO-TV

DULUTH, Minn. (WCCO) – Do you want to talk about successful runs? How about coaching a football team to a national title and then overseeing a team that wins a national title in hockey?

Those are the accomplishments made by Bob Nielson, athletic director at the University of Minnesota-Duluth.

“It was an interesting year, a year where (I made the statement) sometimes you learn more from the team than the team learns from you. I think that was this year for us,” said Nielson. “Even though we had some injuries to some key players along the way, our team kept finding ways to win.”

He was honored at an event recently, the guest list of which was like a who’s who of Minnesota football.

Though he won the national championship as head coach of UMD football in December, Nielson said he was on pins and needles as the Bulldogs’ athletic director as the hockey team faced Michigan in the national championship.

“I was more nervous Saturday night watching that hockey game as the AD than I was either of the two times I was standing on the sideline in Florence, Ala. in the football championship games,” he said. “It was a great thing for Duluth.”

The wins were not just a great thing for Duluth, but also a great indication of Neilson’s stature, though he continues to deflect all recognition and give credit to the athletes he oversees.

“We’ve got just a great group of student athletes right now,” he said. “And that group of student athletes is going to set high goals for themselves. Our coaches are going to continue to set high goals for their programs.”

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