Photos by J. Alan Paul Photography
Just one day after North Dakota State announced the departure of three-year offensive coordinator Tim Polasek, head coach Chris Klieman made the decision to hire his old teammate at Northern Iowa and former Montana State offensive coordinator Courtney Messingham.
Messingham brings a wealth of college football experience with him to NDSU. His stops in the Big Ten and Big 12 have prepared him to polish the Bison’s aerial attack while maintaining the power-run game the Bison have become known for. In the first game under Messingham on Saturday, the Bison set Division I school records in points (72), rushing yards (498), and total offense (683). We caught up with him before the season to ask how he’s transitioning to Bison football.
Courtney Messingham | Offensive Coordinator/Running Backs
Past Coaching Stops:
- 2017-Present – NDSU, Offensive Coordinator
- 2016 – Montana State, Offensive Coordinator and Quarterbacks Coach
- 2014-15 – Indiana University, Offensive and Special Teams Quality Control
- 2009-13 – Iowa State, Tight Ends/Wide Receivers/Offensive Coordinator
- 1999-2002, ‘08 – Missouri State, Position Coach
- 2005-07 – Southern Mississippi, Running Backs/Wide Receivers
- 2003-04 – Upper Iowa, Head Coach
- 1995-98 – Truman State
- 1993-94 – Iowa Lakes CC
- 1990-92 – St. Ambrose, Graduate Assistant
- Bachelor’s Degree (Northern Iowa): Manufacturing and Mechanical Design (1990)
- Master’s Degree (St. Ambrose): Business Administration
How are we going to see a change in the passing game with your involvement?
Courtney Messingham: “The average fan—I don’t know if they’ll be able to sit there and say, ‘Wow, that’s a lot different. We’ve never seen that before.’ There are some things we need to do from an execution standpoint, and some of it is play calling, but it’s more about the plays that we are running to give us a chance to throw the ball more efficiently.”
How do you plan on getting all the different running backs involved?
CM: “That’s one of the things we have to continue to do a good job of. There are probably four or five running backs that you feel very comfortable with having in the game at any time. Lance (Dunn) and Bruce (Anderson) are very much proven. Ty Brooks had a very good spring, in my estimation, and should have a great fall for us. We have to figure out how to spread the wealth around a little bit and get all of them touches.”
What’s an example of Bison Pride that you’ve seen since coming here?
CM: “In Spring Ball, we had a play that we ran and handed it to a younger tailback. A senior-to-be safety followed him back to the huddle basically telling him, ‘I saw you give a lot better effort and play a lot better last fall. Now it’s your time to turn it on and show you can be a guy to help us on Saturdays.’ And I loved it.
“There was a senior safety saying, ‘Hey, you’re a young man that needs to be able to help us, and show you have the skills that can help us win football games.’ It was coming from their peers—an older peer—a veteran to a younger guy. But I loved it. That’s part of why the success has continued here from, shoot, 1965 until now. The expectations the players hold for each other to keep a standard, and it’s been fun to see.”
What the players are saying
Junior, Easton Stick: “It’s a new voice and new ways of looking at different things. He’s brought his own adjustments and things like that to our offense. It’s been good continuing to learn from him and I’m excited to see how it plays out.”