South Dakota State will enter the 2023 season with a new head coach for the first time since 1997, when John Stiegelmeier replaced Mike Daly. Stiegelmeier announced his retirement after leading the Jacks to the first FCS National Championship in school history, with a 45-21 win over North Dakota State on Jan. 8. Defensive coordinator Jimmy Rogers was announced the next head coach for the Jacks on Jan. 20.
Rogers was the longest-tenured assistant coach on Stiegelmeier’s staff after spending ten seasons as an assistant coach for the Jacks. He was named the 2022 FCS Coordinator of the Year by FootballScoop.com after helping South Dakota State have the No. 1 rushing defense in the country this season.
“It means a lot,” Jimmy Rogers told Zach McKinnell from The Bluebloods. “This place transformed my life and something I never imagined coming out of high school. For me, I’ve always just been focused on my role and doing my job the best I possibly can. I wouldn’t say I thought about this until the last several years as far as becoming the next head football coach here.”
Rogers played linebacker for South Dakota State from 2005-2009. He was a two-time All-Conference selection for the Jackrabbits. He began his collegiate coaching career at South Dakota State as a graduate assistant in 2010 and returned in 2013 to be the linebackers coach.
Rogers spoke about his journey from player, to graduate assistant, to defensive coordinator, and now the head coach of his alma mater.
“My roles have changed here. I’ve been every person in this building… I’ve been the player, I’ve been the graduate assistant, to coordinating the defense and then becoming the head coach. So to know what everybody’s going through at the time and when they’re going through it at… I think there is value in that.”
Rogers has been apart of the South Dakota State program throughout their rise through the FCS. He was an assistant coach for all three Missouri Valley Conference championships. Rogers was a player for the one Great West Conference championship in 2007 and the first FCS Playoff appearance in school history in 2009.
Rogers has made it clear that the standard does not change. The goal is to continue the championship standard in Brookings (SD.) and the Jacks will not be satisfied with one national championship.
“I can tell you this, nobody is settling on one national championship. I can assure you that our goal is to be the best. Every year you get an opportunity to reset yourself and try to replicate what you’ve done. I just have a great roster to do it with… I think maybe one of the best in FCS football. A team that’s really bought into one another and bought into the vision of what we expect to do. I’m excited to see what we could put on the field next fall.”
Even though Rogers will have a new role as head coach; do not expect him to take a step back as a CEO. He plans to continue to work very closely with the defensive side of the ball next season.
Rogers stressed the importance of continuing the standard he has established on the defensive side of the ball these past few seasons.
“I’ll be involved with the defense,” Rogers said about his plan for next season. “I’ll be heavily involved with the defense and it’s not because I don’t trust people. I just got to get people off to the right start to make sure that they’re doing it the way I expect it to be done. Jesse Bobbit is extremely smart and is a player that I had the opportunity of coaching and was a graduate assistant for me. He knows the defense, but he’s going to be taking a new step. He’s going to need some guidance and needs to get his feet wet doing it and then eventually we’ll see what it looks like, me stepping away from it.”
Rogers also spoke about his passion for coaching football and how the CEO role as a head coach is not for him.
“My passion is coaching football. To say that I could just be a CEO, I don’t know if I could do that. I love coaching the kids and trying to take a kid farther than what he ever thought he could be. That is why I got into coaching because that’s what was done for me as a player with the coaches I had.”
The Jimmy Rogers era will begin at South Dakota State on Sep. 2 against Western Oregon. The Jacks are aiming to be the first repeat FCS National Championship since North Dakota State won three in a row from 2017-19.