Mike Van Diest retires after 20 years leading Saints

Mike Van Diest retires after 20 years leading Saints
Carroll College coach Mike Van Diest shares a moment on the sideline with senior McBride Galt in the final moments of Carroll’s 35-14 win over Montana Tech Nov. 3 in Butte. (Butte Sports file photo)

HELENA — Mike Van Diest retired after 20 remarkable seasons leading the Carroll College football team.

The coach made the announcement during a press conference this morning.

Van Diest, who won his 200th game earlier this season, retires after leading the Saints to 14 Frontier Conference titles and six NAIA national titles. He will be inducted into the NAIA Football Hall of Fame early next year.

Under Van Diest the Saints captured the national title in 2002, 2003, 2004, 2005, 2007 and 2010. The coach won the Frontier Conference Coach of the Year Award 10 times. He was named the American Football Coaches Association Coach of the Year in 2003, 2007 and 2010.

Van Diest, who took over from Butte native Bob Petrino before the 1999 season, is the winningest coach in school history.

He compiled a 203-54 record over 20 seasons in Helena. His teams went 38-8 in the NAIA playoffs.

Van Diest’s teams won 10 or more games 15 times, including 12 straight seasons from 2000 through 2011. The Saints went undefeated in 2003 (15-0), 2007 (15-0) and 2010 (14-0).

“What coach Van Diest has meant to the Carroll Athletic Department is immeasurable,” Carroll athletic director Charlie Gross said. “Not only did he bring national prominence to the football program, but he created a culture of excellence for all of us in the athletic department to model.  His passion for Carroll is unwavering, his love for the students is contagious and his persistent energy is invigorating.”

The school did not mention a successor for Van Diest.



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