Former MSU stars among new Cat assistants

BOZEMAN — Two men who know the Montana State football program intimately, and two others who knew it from a distance, are officially joining the Bobcat coaching staff.

Former Bobcats Michael Rider and Clay Bignell each returned to their football roots after a season coaching elsewhere in late March. Rider is assistant defensive line coach, working with Bo Beck, while Bignell assumes duties as the staff’s defensive intern responsible for off-the-field activities such as video breakdown and scouting.

“It’s great to have players that have meant so much to the program come back to continue their coaching careers,” Ash said about Rider, who was a graduate assistant at UNLV last season, and Bignell, who coached at UM-Western. “Michael brings such great passion for this program, and he will be a tremendous asset recruiting the western part of the state. Clay’s family lineage speaks for itself, and he was like a coach on the field when he played. I’m very excited that each of these guys were able to gain experience away from our program for a year and then return.”

A linebacker (2007-11) from Helena Capital, Bignell won a pair of Big Sky Championships with the Bobcats, while former Billings West star Rider (safety, 2006-10) helped clinch MSU’s 2010 league crown with an interception on the final play of that season’s Cat-Griz game. Rider won one Big Sky title as a Bobcat, Bignell two. Each served as a team captain during his career.

The Bobcats also hired a pair without direct ties to Montana State football. Daniel DaPrato becomes MSU’s special teams coordinator with responsibility for coaching the team’s tight ends. He spent the previous six seasons in a similar capacity at Sacramento State. Former Drake quarterback Mike Piatkowski, who started a pair of games against the Bobcats in his career, becomes MSU’s offensive intern. Previously, Ash announced the hiring of former New Hampshire assistant Tim Cramsey, who coached against the Bobcats in the 2011 FCS Playoffs, as offensive coordinator.

Ash is pleased with the work he saw from each of his new additions during the spring. “Tim has worked really well with the offensive staff,” Ash said. “Things are going very well in that (offensive staff) room. We’re still working through things on special teams because Daniel started late in the game, but we’re making good progress and I like the energy and enthusiasm he brings. New coordinators on offense and special teams brings an infusion of new ideas into the program, which I find benefits the entire program.”

 MSU Sports Information