The University of Minnesota Crookston football program announced staff changes heading into the 2018 season. Tom Miller, who has been on staff for the past three seasons, has been promoted to defensive coordinator for the Golden Eagles. Miller will also retain his title as an assistant head coach and will coach a position group that has been yet to be determined. UMC also announced the hiring of Sam Gooding as recruiting coordinator and offensive line coach. Gooding served as offensive line coach in a temporary position during the spring and has been promoted to full-time.
Miller spent three seasons as safeties coach for the Golden Eagles. Miller also served as recruiting coordinator for UMC in 2017. He helped the Golden Eagles sign 37 players on signing day, including 22 in-state signees. He also put an emphasis on area signees, helping UMC create a strong footprint in Northern Minnesota and Northeast North Dakota. The Golden Eagles were also able to bring in a haul of 17 student-athletes from the Twin Cities metro area and Central Minnesota.
Miller came to UMC after one season at the University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point, where he worked as the team’s linebacker coach and video coordinator. In his one season, he helped a player to a First Team All-Wisconsin Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (WIAC) pick and had another earn honorable mention. Prior to arriving at Wisconsin-Stevens Point, Miller served as the Head Football Scout for NCSA Athletic Recruiting where he helped to provide student-athletes and families expert advice about the collegiate recruiting process.
Prior to his experience at NCSA, Miller was an assistant coach for one season at Concordia University-Chicago, where he worked with the team’s wide receivers and kickers and punters. Miller also served as a student assistant coach at Ripon College.
As a player, Miller competed for Loras College and Ripon and he also helped found the Ripon College Rugby Football club. He earned his bachelor’s degree from Ripon in 2008 in exercise science with an emphasis in sport management. Miller earned his master’s degree in coaching and sports administration from Concordia University-Irvine.
“Tom has done a great job coaching his position group in the past,” said Head Coach Mark Dufner. “He brings a wealth of knowledge on the defensive side of the football. Tom will do an excellent job in his role as defensive coordinator.”
Gooding comes to the Golden Eagles from Southwest Minnesota State University where he spent one season as running backs coach. He helped Ashanti Payne and Max Simmons reach over 400 yards on the season.
Gooding previously was an assistant coach for two seasons at Dakota State University in Madison, S.D., where he was on the same staff as current Minnesota Crookston offensive coordinator Jared Hottle. In 2015, he oversaw tight ends and coached one all-conference tight end and helped the offense set school records in both scoring and total yards. In 2016, he served as offensive line coach and special teams coordinator. He coached three all-conference linemen and an all-conference kicker and punter.
Prior to his position at Dakota State, Gooding was a student assistant and recruiting assistant at Division I University of Illinois.
He earned his bachelor’s degree from the University of Illinois in 2015, while earning a master’s degree from Dakota State in 2016.
“Sam did a nice job working with the offensive line last spring,” Dufner said. “He brings a lot of energy to practice every day. Sam will do a great job coaching the offensive line and serving as our recruiting coordinator.”
The Golden Eagles are currently looking to finish their staff heading into the 2018 season. UMC returns a core of 50 players heading into the season and they return three players who earned All-NSIC honors in 2017. The Golden Eagles open up the season Thursday, August 30 at 6:30 p.m. in Moorhead.