Brent Bolte enters his 21st season on the Bemidji State coaching staff in 2020 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 2004 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 at BSU. 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 13 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.
Bolte has been the leader of a BSU team to average eight wins over his first four seasons at the helm. Leading the team after finishing the 2019 campaign with an 8-3 record, including a 6-1 record in the NSIC North Division. The Bemidji State 2019 senior class totaled 32 wins over the last four years, which is a BSU record for a senior class. In 2019, BSU earned eight All-America accolades, led by senior defensive back Michael Junker with a program-record five All-American honors, along with 15 all-conference players and 16 members on the NSIC All-Academic team. The Beaver offense averaged 30.4 points per game to rank fourth in the NSIC, 200.6 rushing yards per game to rank third, 232.9 passing yards per game to rank fifth, and 186.0 passing yards allowed per game to rank fourth. Powering BSU's rushing attack was sophomore running back Jalen Frye, who led the NSIC with 148.6 rushing yards per game. Frye became just the second Beaver ever to rush for over 300 yards in a game on Nov. 16, 2019, finishing four yards shy of setting the program single-game record. The Gang Green defense averaged 20.8 points per game and boasted a 28.7 percent third-down conversion rate, which ranked 13th best in the nation. The red zone defense for the Beavers ranked fourth-best in the country at 60.7 percent. The Gang Green defense also ranked among the top 10 nationally in interceptions and pass defense efficiency.
Bolte has helped BSU average at least eight wins over his first three seasons leading the squad after finishing the 2018 campaign with a 7-4 record, including a 5-2 mark in the NSIC North Division. The Beavers have also totaled at least 17 student-athletes on the All-NSIC list in each season under Bolte while also ranking third in the league with 38.2 points per game, 17th nationally, and 216.5 rushing yards per game. The Beavers also paced the NSIC in fourth-down conversions and defensive interceptions while and ranked among the top five in scoring defense, total defense and rushing defense. Nationally, BSU ranked among the top five in punt returns, red zone defense, and turnover margin. Senior defensive back Gunner Olszewski earned six post-season awards, including a program-record four All-American honors. Joining Olszewski with post-season awards included senior offensive lineman Parker Blakeslee and junior offensive lineman Nick Niemi. Six Beavers were also named to the 2018 Fall Academic All-NSIC team.
In his first full year as head coach Bolte recorded eight wins and three losses on the year. Beaver football set a new record under Coach Bolte with 18 players receiving All-NSIC Team Honors. The NSIC All-Academic team included 11 players from BSU. Bemidji State was ranked second in scoring offense with an average of 35.3 points per game and fifth in scoring defense with 17.3 points per game. Beavers took fourth in total offensive yards per game with an average of 396.5 yards, along with taking fifth in total defensive yards averaging 299.3 per game. Bemidji State ranked third in the conference in rushing yards with 202.5 yards per game and fifth in defensive rushing with 104.9 yards. Multiple Beavers earned conference and national awards, including senior guard Jake Krause who was named the 2017 NSIC Glen Galligan Award winner, junior safety John Vogeler who was named D2CCA Football All-Super Region Four First Team and senior safety Evan Tompkins who became the third ever Beaver Football student-athlete to be selected CoSIDA Academic All-American First 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. Quarterback 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.
Over the last 18 seasons, Bolte has focused on the linebackers, in addition to his head coach duties for three seasons, and has mentored an All-American, four all-region players and 41 All-NSIC selections, which includes at least one player on the all-conference first or second team in all but one season.
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 selections, two Second Team All-NSIC selections, 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.
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.
Crosby and Buckley Wright are the most recent examples of the type of player Bolte have 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 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).
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).
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 an 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.
By The Numbers
|As a Head Coach|
|2016||Bemidji State||9-3 (5-2)|
|2017||Bemidji State||8-3 (6-1)|
|2018||Bemidji State||7-4 (5-2)|
|2019||Bemidji State||8-3 (6-1)|
|Total||3 seasons||32-13 (22-6)|
|At Bemidji State||32-13 (22-6)|