In over fifteen years as head coach at Carroll College, Mike Van Diest has led the Fighting Saints to six National Championships, 13 Frontier Conference Championships (including twelve straight titles from 2000-2011) for one of the most dominating runs in college football history. The Saints have posted a 176-28 record during the past fifteen seasons. This includes a Frontier Conference mark of 114-12 for an impressive winning percentage of 91%. Over the past 12 years the Fighting Saints have a remarkable 150-13 record for a winning percentage of 92%. The Saints have compiled a playoff record of 38-7 over the past twelve years.
This past season, Carroll College reached the National Semifinal game, losing a heartbreaker on the road to the University of the Cumberlands (Ky.) 34-27 in overtime. The Saints finished 12-2 and ranked third nationally in the final NAIA poll.
By virtue of their 9-1 Frontier Conference mark, Carroll College regained the Frontier Conference Championship Crown, the 13th championship in fourteen seasons. The Saints were a perfect 7-0 at home in Nelson Stadium. Coach Van Diest was honored as region five NAIA coach of the year by the American Football Coaches Association in 2013.
In 2011 the Saints reached the National Championship game for the 8th time in the past 10 years and ended the season in second place after losing to St. Xavier 20-24.
In 2010 the Saints won their sixth National Championship in the past 9 seasons and the 7th appearance in the title game. The Saints posted a 14-0 record defeating the University of Sioux Falls 10-7 in the championship game. This was the 4th time under Van Diest that the Saints finished with a perfect record, the other seasons were in 2003, 2005 and 2007.
During Van Diest’s tenure, Carroll has had the National Player of the Year four times. Tyler Emmert received this award in 2003 and 2005 and in 2008 Owen Koeppen was named Player of the Year. Chance Demaris won the award in 2011.
In 2000 and 2001 the Saints finished with a number 3 national ranking. The Saints defense was ranked 11th in 2000, 4th in 2001, 6th in 2002, 5th in 2003 and 3rd in 2004 and number one in 2005 and 2006. In 2006 the Saints defense gave up an average of 5.8 points per contest.
While at Carroll College, Van Diest has coached 34 All-Conference linebackers with eight being named First Team All-Americans: Joe Horne (2001), Cory Perzinski (2002), Marcus Atkinson (2003), Gary Cooper (2004, 2005), Seamus Molloy (2006), Owen Koeppen (2007, 2008) and Thomas Dolan (2010) and Sean Blomquist (2013). Horne, Atkinson, Cooper, Dolan and Blomquist were also named Frontier Conference Defensive Player of the Year. During his tenure as head coach Van Diest has been named Frontier Conference Coach of the Year nine times. In 2003 and 2005 Van Diest was named NAIA National Coach of the Year by the American Football Association as well as the AFCA Coach of the Year in 2003, 2007 and 2010.
Van Diest is a 1970 graduate of Helena High School. His career has included stops at his alma mater, the University of Wyoming, the University of Montana, the University of Massachusetts, and the Big Ten representative, Northwestern University, as an assistant coach. Van Diest has won titles at Montana (Big Sky Champions, 1982), Wyoming (two Western Athletic Conference Championships and one Pacific Division Championship, 1986) and twelve Frontier Conference Championships at Carroll, as well as the 2002, 2003, 2004, 2005, 2007, and 2010 NAIA National Championships. He and his wife Heidi have two sons, Shane, 26 and Clay, 19.
Nick Enters his 15th year at Carroll College. This will be his fourteenth season directing the Saints offense. In 2004 Howlett was named the NAIA Assistant Coach of the Year, and in 2012 was named the Victory Sports Network Assistant Coach of the Year.
Under Howlett’s guidance Saints quarterbacks have been the Frontier Conference Players of the Year six times. JD Emmert in 2000, Tyler Emmert in 2003, 2004, and 2005, John Barnett in 2007 and Gary Wagner in 2010. Tyler was 1st Team All-Conference in 2002, 2003, 2004 and 2005.
Howlett is a former Western Montana College standout and three-time All-Frontier Conference running back. He was an assistant at his alma mater for three years before coming to Carroll.
Howlett was ninth in the nation in receiving his senior season at Western. He earned his bachelor’s degree in secondary education for Western Montana College. Nick resides in Helena with his wife Sandy and daughter Brooke.
Jim begins his 15th season at Carroll College and his fourteenth as the offensive line coach. Hogan has coached twelve 1st Team All-Conference players over the past ten seasons. This past year Connor Goudreau was named 1st Team All-Conference, while also garnering a spot on the AFCA First Team All-America squad.
Hogan oversees the Saints’ strength and conditioning program and was named Samson’s National Strength Coach of the Year for the 2005-06 season. Under Coach Hogan two of his players, Kyle Baker (2005) and Andy Fjeseth (2010) received the prestigious Dave Rimingtion Award which goes the outstanding center in the nation.
Before coming to Carroll, Hogan was the head coach for football, wrestling, and track at Billings Central High School. His 1999 track team won the Class A State Championship. In addition to his eight years of coaching in Billings, Hogan’s career has included stops in Gillette, WY and as an assistant for Western Montana College.
Hogan is originially from Lacey, WA and graduated from the University of Montana where he played for Coach Van Diest in 1980. He and his wife Barb have four children: Anthony, who is a junior at Carroll and a member of the Saints football team, along with Adam, James, and Brittany.
Mason is starting his third season on the Saints' coaching staff, where he will oversee the production of the Saints' defensive line and undertake the duties of video coordinator.
In his second season, during which he coached primarily linebackers, Mason oversaw the success of Frontier Conference standouts Joe Dunning and Sean Blomquist, both of whom earned First-Team All Conference accolades for their performances. Siddick also helped Spencer Savaage, a defensive tackle, to the 2011 Second Team All-Conference squad.
Mason's coaching career follows an outstanding career as a defensive tackle at Carroll. In 2010 Mason was named 1st Team All-Conference and Honorable Mention All-America and was a co-captain as well. Siddick was a two-year starter for the Saints at nose guard before graduating with a degree in communications from Carroll in 2011. Mason and his wife, Meagann, are the proud parents of a son, Keyaan.
Tyler returns to the coaching staff for his seventh season, coming after a two-year stint away from the program. The most decorated quarterback in Saints history, Tyler led the Fighting Saints to four consecutive NAIA National Titles.
Emmert was named All-American three times and National Player of the Year twice. Tyler, a graduate of Helena's Capital High School will coach a talented young receiving corps this fall. Tyler and his wife, Amy, have four children: Kathryn, Madilyn, John and Hannah.
This will be Ryan’s first year on the Fighting Saints coaching staff. Last season, Ryan was the head coach at Conrad High School after an outstanding collegiate career at the University of Montana.
Ryan was a starting defensive end for the Grizzlies in 2011, where he helped lead the Grizzlies to the Big Sky Conference Championship and the NCAA playoffs.
Ryan was a decorated football player and wrestler at Helena High School. He will coach the Carroll running backs in 2013.
Pat is beginning his second season with the Saints, but he will shift to the other side of the ball after spending last season as Carroll’s receivers coach. A former defensive back for the Fighting Saints, Pat takes over for longtime assistant Jarrod Wirt, who departed after last season to become the defensive coordinator at Bethany College in Lindsborg, Kan.
In Pat’s first season as a collegiate coach, he coached a young receiving corps to an outstanding 2012 campaign. Sophomore Anthony Clarke reeled in 542 yards and seven touchdowns, while true freshman Dylan Simac, a Helena native, contributed 339 yards and six touchdowns of his own.
This will be Joe’s first season on the Saints’ coaching staff, during which he will work primarily with Coach Van Diest and the Carroll linebacking corps.
Joe finished a five-year career in 2012 as co-captain. The past two seasons, Joe was named to the All-Conference Defensive Team.
Joe played in two National Championship games, helping the Saints win the title in 2010. This past spring he graduated with a degree in secondary education.
This will be Kyle’s first season working for the Fighting Saints. Kyle was a two time NAIA All-American in 2004 and 2005. He was a four year starter, starting 56 out of 57 games and leading the Saints to four consecutive National Championships.
As a senior, Kyle was named the Rimington Award winner, an honor given to the top center in the nation. Kyle was also and Academic All- American and graduated with a degree in Sports Management.