Photo: LM Otero (AP)

John Stiegelmeier Announces Retirement After FCS National Championship Season

After 26 seasons as the head coach at South Dakota State, John Stiegelmeier announced his retirement on Thursday afternoon. The announcement comes two weeks after Stiegelmeier led the Jackrabbits to the first FCS National Championship win over North Dakota State on January 8. 

“(Wife) 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. “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.” 

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Stiegelmeier retires as the winningest coach in South Dakota State history as he finishes his career with 199 victories. His teams posted winning records in 22 of his 26 seasons, while also making FCS Playoff appearances for 11 straight seasons since 2012. His 84 victories in the Missouri Valley Conference rank second in conference history. Stiegelmeier led the Jackrabbits to three conference championships in the MVFC and never finished a season below .500 in conference play. 

The Jackrabbits have advanced to semifinal round of the FCS Playoffs in five of the last six seasons, while also making two FCS National Championship appearances in those seasons. Stiegelmeier saved his best season for last as the Jackrabbits went undefeated (14-0) against FCS competition and won their first national championship in school history. He also won the 2022 Eddie Robinson Award this season, which is awarded to the FCS coach of the year. 

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South Dakota State defensive coordinator Jimmy Rogers was named the next head coach for the Jackrabbits on Friday morning in an official press conference. Rogers was a two-time all-conference selection for the Jackrabbits from 2006-09 and was a captain on the first South Dakota State team to make the FCS Playoffs in 2009. 

Rogers was the longest-tenured assistant coach on Stiegelmeier’s staff as he just completed his 10th season. He was selected as the 2022 FCS Coordinator of the Year by this season. The South Dakota State defense led the country in rushing defense (88.1 yards allowed per game) and finished third in the country in scoring defense (15.8 PPG allowed). 

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