In his thirteen years as head coach at Carroll College, Mike Van Diest has led the Fighting Saints to six National Championships and twelve straight Frontier Conference Championship titles for one of the most dominating runs in college football history. The Saints have posted a 157-22 record during the past thirteen seasons. This includes a Frontier Conference mark of 105-11 for an impressive winning percentage of 92%. Over the past 11 years the Fighting Saints have a remarkable 138-11 record for a winning percentage of 94%. The Saints have compiled a playoff record of 36-6 over the past twelve years.
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 this past season.
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 33 All-Conference linebackers with seven 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). Horne, Atkinson, Cooper and Dolan 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, 25 and Clay, 18.
Nick Enters his 14th year at Carroll College. This will be his thirteenth season directing the Saints offense. In 2004 Howlett was named the NAIA Assistant Coach of the Year, and in 2012 was named VSN 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 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 14th season at Carroll College and his thirteenth as the offensive line coach. Hogan has coached twelve 1st Team All-Conference players over the past ten seasons. This past year Connor Goudreau and Zach Zosel were named 1st Team All-Conference. This past season the Saints offense was number one ranked rushing offense in the conference. 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.
This will be Jarrod’s 14th season with the Fighting Saints Football program. He was a standout defensive back for the Saints from 1999-2003. Jarrod started 27 games during his final two years at Carroll College. At Carroll as a player the Saints won four Frontier Conference Championships and two NAIA National Championships. The past eight years Jarrod has coached on the defensive side of the football and the Saints have won eight more Frontier Conference Championships and four National Championships. This past season under Jarrod’s direction as the Saints secondary coach, Brian Strobel was named 1st Team All-Conference. Jarrod has coached twelve All-Conference players over the past 6 years. Jarrod is a native of Havre, MT where he was an All-State athlete for the Blue Ponies. Jarrod graduated from Carroll in 2004.
Nick will begin his fifth year on the coaching staff at Carroll College. he spent his first two seasons assisting Coach Hogan with the offensive line. In 2010 he moved to running backs where he tutored 1st Team All-Conference John Camino. This past year Chance Demarais led the nation in rushing and was names 1st Team All-American and the NAIA National Player of the Year. Nick is also the video editing coordinator on the staff, Nick has coached at Rocky Mountain High School in Fort Collins, Colorado and is a 2007 graduate of Colorado State with a degree in psychology.
Mason will be entering his second season on the Saints staff this fall. He will be working with the linebackers this year after coaching the defensive tackles last fall. Mason had great career as defensive tackle at Carroll. In 2010 Mason was named 1st Team All- Conference and was a co-captain as well. He was a two year starter for the Saints at nose guard. This past season Spencer Savage was named to the Second Team All-Conference. Mason graduated with a degree in Communications from Carroll College.
This will be Tim’s second season on the Carroll staff. Last year Tim worked with the defensive ends, there he coached 2nd Team All-Conference honoree Noah McWilliams who led the Saints in sacks. With his help Carroll also led the nation in total sacks. This fall Tim will be moving inside to work with the defensive tackles. In 2010 Tim was an assistant football and baseball coach at South H.S. in Fort Wayne, Indiana. Tim is familiar with Carroll College as he competed against the Saints while playing for St. Francis University. In 2007 and 2008 Tim was named 1st Team All-American as a Defensive End. After his playing days at St. Francis he stayed on and coached there in 2009. His wife Erin is a nurse at St. Peter’s Hospital.
Steve begins his first year on the Saints coaching staff after being an Assistant Offensive Line Coach at Helena High. Steve helped an offensive line at Helena High that went to the State Championship in 2010 and the State semi-finals in 2011. Steve played offensive tackle at Wheaton College in Illinois. Steve was also an intern with the Montana State Football Program in the spring of 2011. Steve and his wife Marilyn have two daughters, Gwyn and Remy, and are in the process of foster-adopting two young sons.
Jeff will begin his first season with the Saints coaching the defensive ends. During his playing days at Carroll, Jeff was one of the most dominating defensive ends in the nation. He was an All-Conference selection in 2003, 2004 and 2005. In 2005 Jeff was named the Frontier Conference Defensive Player of the Year and was named 1st Team All-American. Jeff also holds the distinction of starting all 57 games in his career. Jeff helped lead the Saints to 4 consecutive NAIA National Championships from 2002-2005.
This is Dane’s first year coaching on Carroll’s staff. After his outstanding career he will oversee the Saints wide receivers. In 4 years at Carroll Dane compiled a 26-2 record as a starter. He helped lead the Saints to 3 National Championship appearances, winning in 2010.
This will be Andy’s 1st year on Coach Van Diest’s Coaching staff. Fjeseth was an outstanding player during his career for the fighting Saints. Andy played on 3 teams that played for the National Championship, winning it all in 2007 and 2010 and was runner-up in 2008. He was a three year starter and a two time All-Conference selection. In his senior season (2010) Andy was named co-captain of the Fighting Saints and was selected 1st Team All-American. Andy also was honored with the Rimington Award which is given to the outstanding center in the nation. His wife Blair is employed by Strategies 360.