TAHLEQUAH, Okla. --- Mike Knoll, a previous head coach and assistant coach at the NCAA Division I level, has joined the Northeastern State University football staff, according to RiverHawks’ head coach Kenny Evans.
Knoll, the former head coach at New Mexico State University and assistant coach on staffs at the University of Tulsa, Iowa State, and the University of Miami, will serve as the RiverHawks assistant head coach, defensive line coach and recruiting coordinator.
“Mike brings a wealth of experience and knowledge to our program with a great background,” said Evans. “He has been around great programs and coaches all across the country. To lure him to Northeastern State at this point in our program is a very big plus for us.
“We are close to turning the corner and this could be what we need for that to happen as we seek to return to the great football days of the past at Northeastern State.”
Knoll has also coached on the Division II level and NAIA level, and comes to Northeastern State after serving as the head football coach at Upper Iowa University (NCAA Division II) for four seasons.
Knoll said he was excited to join the RiverHawks’ staff and sees great things ahead for the program.
“A lot of what brought me here to Northeastern State was my previous coaching experience in Northeastern Oklahoma, the area itself and Green Country,” said Knoll. “The nine years I spent at the University of Tulsa, I always had a great amount of respect for Northeastern State.
“I knew the program was run well, there were good coaches and they were successful during those times. I see this as an opportunity to help the football program get better, through recruiting as much as anything else. When I was at TU under (John) Cooper he said you look for players that are better than you coach. So, it’s all about recruiting and having the opportunity to work with this staff and coach Evans. The timing and opportunity just worked out.”
Knoll said he sees a challenge ahead for the RiverHawks entering the 2010 season, but it is one that he and the RiverHawks will not back away from this fall.
“We are going to be playing on the road early, which is always a challenge, and against some very good competition,” said Knoll. “It will be a challenge for our program and organization. But, I see some real positive things, leadership wise, both on campus and in athletics, that will help provide us the opportunities it takes to be successful.”
Knoll said he was happy to get back to Oklahoma to continue his coaching career.
“My last stop was at Upper Iowa University,” said Knoll. “I was born and raised in Iowa and I always said it was a good place to be, from not at. I'm not real fond of cold weather and I expected it to be a little warmer (in Oklahoma) than it is right now. But this area is a special place and it’s good to be back.
“I consider this area to be as much a home for me as anyplace I’ve ever been. I see a bright future for Northeastern State football and what we are going to experience.”
Evans said the hiring of Knoll comes at the right time with the recruiting of high school players and the upcoming spring drills.
“This will give Mike an opportunity to get acquainted with all our student-athletes, get to know the personnel and dive into our spring drills.”
Evans said he got to know Knoll very well when he was at the University of Tulsa during his second stint at TU.
“I’ve followed his career for a long time and got to really know him well when he was at TU," said Evans. “I was at Missouri Southern and we ran into each other on the recruiting trails a lot. When he showed interest in the job, it was a sincere interest. I feel very fortunate to have him here.
“I look forward to coaching with him the next few years,” said Evans.
The Knoll Expreience
Published: 1/14/2010 7:45:30 AM