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South Dakota State’s Stiegelmeier retires, goes out on top

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BROOKINGS, S.D. (AP) — Longtime South Dakota State coach John Stiegelmeier announced his retirement Thursday, less than two weeks after the school won its first Football Championship Subdivision title.

Defensive coordinator Jimmy Rogers was named Stiegelmeier’s successor and will be introduced at a news conference Friday.

Stiegelmeier had been head coach since 1997, when the Jackrabbits were NCAA Division II members, and he shepherded the football program’s move to Division I beginning in 2004.

He compiled a record of 199-112 over 26 years and led the Jackrabbits to 12 FCS playoff appearances beginning in 2009.

Stiegelmeier wrapped up his career with a 45-21 win over rival North Dakota State in the championship game Jan. 8 in Frisco, Texas.

“Laurie and I, with our family, want to thank South Dakota State University and SDSU Athletics for being blessed to serve as the head football coach,” Stiegelmeier said, referring to his wife. “During our 26 years in this role, a lifetime of memories have occurred. The support of so many, including three university presidents, numerous assistant coaches, countless student-athletes, two athletic directors and the Jackrabbit fan base has been so special. Thank you to each and every one who have believed in us.”

Stiegelmeier’s teams posted winning records in 22 of his 26 seasons. The Jackrabbits began their current streak of 11 FCS playoff appearances in 2012, and advanced to at least the semifinal round in five of the last six seasons. SDSU reached its first title game in the 2020-21 pandemic season, losing to Sam Houston State.

The Jackrabbits have never finished below .500 in league play in 15 seasons in the Missouri Valley Football Conference. They won league titles in 2016, 2020-21 and 2022. They will carry a 14-game win streak into next season.

“Simply put, South Dakota State University is a better place because of John and Laurie Stiegelmeier,” athletic director Justin Sell said. “Their impact goes far beyond wins and losses or championships because of the family culture they have fostered throughout their time here, and by building a program based on character, hard work and excellence in all areas.”

Stiegelmeier has been associated with Jackrabbits football for more than 35 years, starting as a student assistant under John Gregory in 1979. He was an assistant from 1988-96 under Wayne Haensel and Mike Daly.

Rogers played under Stiegelmeier from 2006-09 and was the longest-tenured assistant on the Jackrabbits’ 2022 staff. In his lone season as the team’s sole defensive coordinator, the Jackrabbits led the FCS in rushing defense and interceptions and ranked third in scoring defense.

Rogers was a two-time all-conference selection as a linebacker. He led the Great West Football Conference with 110 tackles in 2007. Rogers was a captain on the Jackrabbits’ first FCS playoff team in 2009.

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