The senior member of the UMD football family, John Steger embarks on his 16th season -- in his second tour of duty -- as the Bulldogs’ defensive coordinator in 2016. He thrived in that role for 11 years before departing in 2009 for Southern Illinois University, where he served as the Salukis’ inside linebackers coach and special teams coordinator for a pair of years, prior to returning to the Bulldog fold.
Under Steiger’s expert watch, UMD has consistently finished among the league leaders in a number of defensive statistical categories. That includes in 2015 when the Bulldogs paced the Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference in passing defense ( 162.1 yards per game) and pass efficiency defense (95.41 - -the third best figure in the couuntry). On a national scale, UMD has also earned plenty of notice both as a team and individually. Three years ago, for example, the Bulldog ranked fourth among all NCAA II institutions in total defense (281.9 yards per game) and were fifth in rushing defense (77.6 ypg). In 2008, Steger was chosen as a finalist for the footballscoop.com NCAA Coordinator of the Year Award after the Bulldogs allowed just four defensive touchdowns over the course of their four-game NCAA II national title run. During his 15 years at UMD, he has helped produce 13 All-Americans and 34 All-NSIC/North Central Conference first team selections.
Steger joined the UMD football program in 1999 after working the previous 11 seasons as a defensive coordinator at two NCAA III schools. He served a seven-year stint at University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire, and in his final year there, the Blugolds topped the Wisconsin Intercollegiate Athletic Conference in total defense, rushing defense, and scoring defense. For his efforts, the Wisconsin High School Coaches Association chose him as their 1998 College Assistant Coach of the Year.
Steger began his coaching career at Sul Ross State University where, for four seasons (1988-91), he was employed as the Lobo’s defensive coordinator after doing two years of graduate assistantship duty at that Texas institution.
A native of Dubuque, Iowa, Steger started a pair of seasons at linebacker while attending Loras College (Iowa) and co-captained the Duhawks as a senior in 1984.
Steger, 53, received a B.A. degree in both physical education and business from Loras College in 1985 and a Master’s degree in education from Sul Ross State three years later. He and his wife, Barb, make their home in Duluth.
Assistant Coach (Defensive Line / Recruiting Coordinator)
The 2016 season marks Trey Dill’s sixth year at UMD where he’ll once again supervise the Bulldogs' first line of defense as well as their overall recruiting efforts. Over that last five autumns, he's worked with the likes of two-time All-NSIC selections Jonathan Harden (a 2015 USA College Football All-American), Chris Vandervest, Buma Foncham and Jacob Brusehaver.
The 31-year old Dill previously served a two-season appointment as the inside linebackers coach at intrastate rival St. Cloud State University and helped groom a pair of All-NSIC performers during his time with the Huskies (who qualified for the 2010 NCAA II playoffs). He signed on with the St. Cloud State staff fresh off a four-year playing career as a reserve linebacker at that same institution.
A two-time member of the North Central Conference Commissioner’s Academic Honor Roll, Dill is currently completing a Master’s degree in Sports Administration from St. Cloud State, where he graduated in 2008 with a B.S. degree in marketing.
The St. Cloud Tech High School alumnus and his wife, Holly, reside in Hermantown. He is the son of Bemidji State University Athletic Director Tracy Dill.
Assistant Coach (Special Teams Coordinator / Defensive Backs)
Greg Bower will begin his fourth year with the UMD football staff in 2016, having taken over as the team's special teams coordinator and defensive secondary coach on Jan. 14, 2013. In his three seasons with the Bulldogs, he has mentored a quintet of All-NSIC defensive honorees in free safety David Boegel (2015 and 2014), cornerbacks Kenny Chowa (2013) and Darion Fletcher (2015 and 2014) and strong safeties Hunter Malberg (2014) and Travis Nordhus (2013) as well as placekicker/punter Andrew Brees (2015, 2014 and 2013).
Bower had spent the previous five years handling the defensive coordinator role at the University of Wisconsin-River Falls. In 2013, the Falcon defense racked up 80 tackles for loss, including 30 sacks, 30 pass breakups, and 12 fumble recoveries -- all highs under Bower's watch. They also came away with 14 interceptions, equaling the 2008 club's efforts.
Before enlisting his services at UW-River Falls, the 44-year old Bower was employed as an assistant coach for eight seasons at Northern Illinois University, a member of NCAA FBS (Division IA) ranks. He coached the Huskies' tight ends from 2004-07 and the defensive tackles from 2002-03 after spending a pair of seasons in a graduate assistant role (2000-01). Bower got his coaching start at his alma mater, Loras College, where he served as the defensive coordinator during the last four of his seven seasons at that Iowa-based insitution (he was a full-time linebacker coach and graduate assistant before that). During his time at Loras (1993-99), the Duhawks posted five .500 or better seasons and produced seven All-Iowa Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (IIAC) defensive performers, including a pair of first team selections.
Bower, who was born in Monroe, Wis., lettered four years at Loras from 1989-92 and started at linebacker for the Duhawks as a junior and senior. He had a hand in 147 career tackles and was an integral part of the IIAC's No. 2-ranked defense in both 1989 and 1990.
A 1989 graduate of Orangeville (Ill.) High School, Bower earned his Bachelor of Arts degree in history from Loras in 1993 as well as his master's degree in physical education in 2001. He and his wife, Liz, have three children -- son Brett and daughters Faith and Grace -- and reside in Proctor, Minn.
Graduate Assistant Coach (Outside Linebackers)
One year removed from UMD playing days, Brent Stiglich now enters the coaching arena at his alma mater, where as a graduate assistant coach he'll monitor the Bulldog inside linebackers.
A native of Curtiss, Wis., Stiglich engaged in his first season of starting outside linebacker duty last fall and placed second on the Bulldogs' defensive charts with a career-high 70 tackles. He also picked off one pass and recovered one fumble along the way en route to securing All-NSIC North Division second team honors. For his career, the 2015 Bulldog team captain had 174 tackles in 46 lifetime appearances.
Prior to joining the Bulldog football family, Stiglich starred for three seasons at Medford High School and established program records for both tackles in one season (153 as senior in 2010) and in career (342).
He graduated from UMD this past may with a Bachelor of Arts degree in psychology and started in the Master's of Education program this fall.