By Tribune Sports Staff
With its football team’s fortunes in the Big Sky Conference taking a turn for the worse, the University of North Dakota fired Chris Mussman on Monday.
Mussman had been on the UND staff since 1999 and the head coach for six seasons, posting a 31-34 record. But North Dakota limped to a 3-8 record, 2-6 in the Big Sky.
“Coach Mussman and I met this morning, at which time I shared with him my decision to make a change in our football leadership,” UND athletic director Brian Faison said in a press release. “I want to thank Chris for his service at UND and wish him well in his future endeavors.”
Faison said that a national search for a new head coach will begin immediately.
Mussman joined the team in 1999 as offensive line coach and was promoted to offensive coordinator in 2001. He became the head coach in 2008.
Mussman oversaw UND’s transition from an NCAA Division II program to Division I. He guided the team to a 5-6 mark in North Dakota’s first season in the Big Sky.
The 2013 season had a promising start. UND routed Valparaiso in its opener, then dropped a hard-fought 35-28 decision to South Dakota State, then ranked sixth in the nation.
It was pretty much downhill from there.
The got blown out by Montana (55-17) and Montana State (63-20) in back-to-back games. After a win over Idaho, UND lost five of its last six games. Included in that stretch were losses of 21 points to Eastern Washington, 24 points to Sacramento State and 16 points to UC Davis in the season finale.
The Grand Forks Herald reported that it will cost UND approximately $175,000 to buy out the final two years of Mussman’s contract.
Before coming to UND, Mussman spent eight seasons at MSU-Mankato. He played collegiately at Iowa State, where he was a four-year letter winner and starting offensive lineman.