Carroll College, Helena Montana


Head Coach - Mike Van Diest

Coach Van Diest

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 121-15 for an impressive winning percentage of 89%. 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.

VD Family

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, 28 and Clay, 20.

Offensive Coordinator and QB Coach - Nick Howlett

Nick HowlettNick Enters his 16th year at Carroll College.  This will be his fifteenth 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.

Offensive Line and Strength Coach - Jim Hogan

HoganJim begins his 16th season at Carroll College and his fifteenth as the offensive line coach. Hogan has coached twelve 1st Team All-Conference players over the past ten seasons.

This past season, coach Hogan was recognized by the American Football Coaches Association as the Assistant Coach of the Year for NAIA.

This past year Levi Coughlin and Alex Kastens 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, Adam, James, and Brittany, who will be a entering her freshman year at Carroll and is a member of the Softball Team.

Defensive Line Coach and Video Coordinator - Mason Siddick

Mason SiddickMason is starting his fourth season on the Saints' coaching staff, where he will oversee the production of the Saints' defensive line and undertake the duties of video coordinator.

This past season, Siddick oversaw the success of Frontier Conference standouts Sean Condon and Bryan Graupmann were selected 1st Team All-Conference on the defensive line.

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 2010.  Mason and his wife, Meagann, are the proud parents of a son, Keyaan.


Wide Receivers Coach - Tyler Emmert


EmmertTyler returns to the coaching staff for his eighth season.  The most decorated quarterback in Saints history, Tyler led the Fighting Saints to four consecutive NAIA National Titles.  

Last season, Anthony Clarke was selected 2nd-Team All-Conference.  Both Clarke and wide receiver Jared Mayernik were All-Conference return specialists.

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 past year, Emmert was inducted into the NAIA Football Hall of Fame.






Running Backs Coach - Ryan Fetherston


This will be Ryan’s second year on the Fighting Saints coaching staff.  In his first season, Fetherston coached record setting performer Dustin Rinker.  Rinker set both single season records for rushing yards and carries. 

Prior to coming to Carroll, 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.

Ryan and his wife Tana were recently married this past July. 



Defensive Assistant - Casey Norbeck

Casey will be entering his first year as a member of the Carroll College coaching staff after a stellar career as a player at

Carroll College.

Norbeck will be assisting coach Van Diest as well as Joe Dunning with both linebackers and

the secondary this fall.

Casey was a starting linebacker the past two seasons for the Fighting Saints.  

Helping Carroll claim the 2013 Frontier Conference Championship and a number

three overall NAIA National Ranking in the season's final poll. 

Defensive Backs - Joe Dunning


DunningThis will be Joe’s second season on the Saints’ coaching staff, last season Joe coached linebackers and will now be directing the Saints' secondary this fall.

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. 





Darold DeBolt - Tight Ends

Former Carroll College defensive lineman/linebacker comes to Helena after coaching at MSU-Northern where he coached the defensive line in Havre.  Along with duites as tight end coach, he will be helping coach Hogan with the offensive line. This is Darold's first year as a member of the Fighting Saints Coaching Staff.  His wife is Tiffany.

Josh McCrossin - Student Assistant (Defense)

Josh will be entering his first season as a member of the Fighting Saints coaching staff, as well as beginning his Senior year of school at Carroll. While pursuing a degree in Secondary Education, Josh will be assisting coach Siddick with the defensive line and helping gameplan with the run defense this fall.

Prior to Carroll, Josh attended high school in Darby, Montana. At Darby High School, he participated in football and basketball and was an All-Conference honoree in both sports. Josh is also engaged and planning a wedding with his fiancee Annah scheduled for next summer.