SMSU extends three coaches

MARSHALL (SMSU Athletics)- Southwest Minnesota State University Director of Athletics Chris Hmielewski announced today that head football coach Cory Sauter, head women’s basketball Allison Kruger and head men’s basketball coach Brad Bigler, have been awarded four-year contract extensions.

“I am happy to announce the extensions of Cory Sauter, Allison Kruger and Brad Bigler,” Hmielewski said. “These three head coaches have brought great passion, knowledge and leadership to our department, the University and the community of Marshall and the surrounding region. Brad, Allison and Cory have all stressed the importance of the student-athlete experience in their coaching philosophy, and this has resulted in greater success for our student-athletes academically, athletically and professionally.”

Sauter begins his fourth season as head coach in 2013 and sixth-year overall on the SMSU coaching staff. During his tenure as head coach and offensive coordinator, the Mustang offense has ranked among the best in the Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference, in leading SMSU to an overall record of 11-22, including 10-21 in NSIC play. SMSU’s 2012 team set a school record with 23 rushing touchdowns, while rushing for 1,888 yards, the second highest total in program history. A total of 22 players have garnered All-NSIC honors, including a pair earning first team accolades during Sauter’s time as head coach.

Prior to becoming head coach, Sauter spent two seasons (2008-09) as an assistant at SMSU, serving in various roles, including offensive coordinator, quarterbacks coach and passing game coordinator.

Kruger, who is entering her fourth season as head coach in 2013-14, has coached a pair of All-NSIC players and has compiled an overall record of 17-64. Prior to SMSU, Kruger spent two seasons as assistant coach the University of South Dakota and four seasons at Wayne State College.

Bigler enters his fifth season as head coach in 2013-14 and his 11th overall as a member of the SMSU coaching staff. The 2012-13 NSIC Coach of the Year, Bigler has led SMSU to an overall record of 64-51, including 47-39 in conference play. During his tenure as head coach, SMSU has appeared in two NSIC tournament championship games, including winning the 2012 title, while also advancing to the NCAA tournament in 2012.

Bigler began his coaching tenure at the University in 2003, spending two seasons as a graduate assistant before being elevated to full-time assistant coach prior to the 2005-06 season. He was named associate head coach in the summer of 2006.

“All three head coaches focus on developing our student-athlete’s life skills through sport to compliment the quality education they will receive at SMSU,” Hmielewski said. “We are fortunate and excited to solidify these coaching positions for the next four years and look forward to their continued success as part of the Mustang family.”