Brent Bolte enters his 18th season on the Bemidji State coaching staff and was named head coach in July 2017 after 14 as a full-time assistant coach. Three seasons after his initial start with BSU in 2000, Bolte received a promotion to full-time assistant coach in August 2003. He was named Co-Defensive Coordinator in 2005 and since has helped mastermind one of the best defenses in the nation.
The Gang Green defense has been a regular in the NCAA rankings since Bolte began his coordinator duties. The team has finished in the top seven nationally in rush defense three times, including leading the country in 2006, and top-20 five times. In the last eight seasons, the Beavers have finished in the top 20 in total defense on four occasions: 2006 (16th), 2009 (14th), 2010 (18th) and 2012 (15th). The 2011 version of the Gang Green defense held its opponents to 16.0 points per game to rank No. 3 in the nation.
In 2012, the Beavers finished second in the NSIC in total defense (295.6 yards allowed per game), rushing defense (102.8 yards allowed per game) and scoring defense (18.7 points allowed per game), while they closed 2012 15th nationally in total defense, rushing defense and 18th in scoring defense. In addition, Cory Crosby earned All-NSIC First Team and Daktronics All-Central Region First Team honors, while freshman Connor Quinn was named All-NSIC as a second team member after he ended the season first in tackles among the NSIC’s freshmen linebackers.
In the last 14 seasons, Bolte has focused on the linebackers and has mentored an All-American, four all-region players and 31 All-NSIC selections, which includes at least one player on the all-conference first or second team in all but one season.
Bolte helped mold the careers of players like Andrew Eagan, a two-time All-NSIC performer and Zach Christ, a 2006 all-conference and all-region selection and 2007 All-NSIC pick who finished his career ranked eighth on the BSU assisted tackles list with 168. In 2002, Bolte’s first year coaching linebackers, he helped continue BSU’s tradition of strong play at the linebacker position. Jon Aamot was named All-NSIC Second Team, Second-Team All-Region by Daktronics, Inc. and Third-Team All-Region by Don Hansen’s Gazette. Aamot again earned all-conference honors in 2003 and finished as BSU’s career leader in solo tackles (157) and finished second in total tackles (362).
The success and talent level of the linebackers under Bolte jumped to another level with Jake Anderson. An All-NSIC Second Team pick in 2008, Anderson earned All-NSIC First Team accolades in 2009 followed by first-team all-region honors that led to a spot on two different All-America teams (Daktronics and Don Hansen’s Football Gazette).
Crosby and Buckley Wright are the most recent example of the type of player Bolte has consistently turned out, as Crosby finished his career as a three-time All-NSIC pick and in 2012 earned All-NSIC First Team, Daktronics All-Region First Team and Don Hansen All-Super Region Three Third Team honors after tying for second in the NSIC in total tackles. He exited Bemidji State fifth on the all-time tackles list with 326 (133s-193a). Wright, a two-time captain, was named All-NSIC Honorable Mention as a freshman and earned All-NSIC First Team honors in 2013 as a senior. He was also a three-time Academic All-NSIC selection.
The 2015 Gang Green Defense under Coach Bolte was one of the best in the NSIC. The Beavers only allowed 19.1 points per game which was third least in the conference. The defense also ranked third in total defense by having the third best rush defense and seventh best pass defense. The rush defense only allowed an average of 113.8 yards per game while the pass defense only allowed 234.7 yards per game. The Gang Green defense also recorded 30 sacks and 15 interceptions, both ranked in the top ten in the conference. Bolte's defense boasted three First Team All-NSIC selctions, two Second Team All-NSIC selctions and two All-NSIC Honorable Mentions. Freshman cornerback Gunner Olszewski won multiple awards for the 2015 season, including NSIC Newcomer of the Year, 2015 NSIC Division All-Conference First Team Defense and D2Football.com Defensive Player of the Week (11/4/15). The Bemidji State defense had two players named to the 2015 Fall Academic All-NSIC Team.
The high level of play continued into 2016 with Bolte now serving as the interim Head Coach. The Gang Green Defense led the NSIC in interceptions (22) while ranking fifth in total defense (394.0 yards per game), sacks (33), and scoring defense (24.4 points per game). The defense, along with an offense that led the conference in scoring (45.6 points per game), helped the Beavers to a program record 9 total wins including the first postseason win in program history over Washburn in the Mineral Water Bowl. The team also set a record as 17 players were named to the NSIC All-Conference list including eight to the All-NSIC First Team, six to the All-NSIC Second Team and three to the All-NSIC Honorable Mention list. Bolte also had 4 players consisting of: Damon Benham, Jesse Hein, Jordan Hein and Brandon Schindler named to the 2016 Don Hansen NCAA Division II All-Super Region Three team and two players, Benham and Gunner Olszewski, named to the Conference Commissioner’s Association (CCA) All-Super Region Three team. Quaterback Jordan Hein was also nominated for the Harlon Hill Award which is given to the top Division II football player in the nation. The Beavers also found success off the field as Running back Gena Adams was named to the 2016 CoSIDA Academic All-America Division II football team and the team landed 24 student-athletes on the Fall Academic All-NSIC team.
Bolte spent the 2000 and 2001 seasons as BSU’s wide receivers coach, where he helped develop one of the NSIC’s best receiving corps. He coached a All-NSIC First Team pick during both of his seasons at the position; Jason Leden in 2000 and Ryan Welle in 2001. Under Bolte’s tutelage, Leden left BSU as the program’s career leader in catches, receiving yards and receiving touchdowns (records since tied or broken), and in 2001 Welle set a school single-season record for receiving yardage.
Before joining the BSU staff, Bolte spent 1999 coaching wide receivers and quarterbacks at Loras College in Dubuque, Iowa.
Born in Waterloo, Iowa, Bolte started and lettered four years as a linebacker at Cornell College in Mt. Vernon, Iowa. He helped the program capture the 1995 Midwest Athletics Conference championship and the 1996 Southern Division crown. He received All-MAC honors and left as the school’s career leader in tackles (since broken). He graduated in 1998 with a double major in psychology and physical education.
Bolte and his wife Kim have a son, Caden and daughter, Beth. They reside in Bemidji.