This sure was an interesting season for the Dickinson State football team. The Blue Hawks won just two games by a total of two points in 2012, their inaugural Frontier Conference season. Yet, head coach Hank Biesiot still managed to set a NAIA record for wins. (Though it’s a record in the eyes of some and not others, including the NAIA).
DSU finishing 2-9 — its second consecutive losing season and first time Biesiot has experienced back-to-back below-.500 years — in a season not without some historic moments is The Dickinson Press’ No. 8 sports story of 2012.
One great moment came Sept. 15 when the Blue Hawks beat Montana State-Northern 21-20 to help put Biesiot in a three-way tie for the NAIA’s coaching wins record.
On Oct. 13, Biesiot became the first football coach to win 257 games while coaching an NAIA school when the Blue Hawks got gutsy and scored a touchdown and went for the twopoint conversion with 14.6 seconds remaining to beat rival Jamestown College 8-7 in their lone nonconference game of the year.
A Matt Harkless-to-Jimmy Smith touchdown pass, followed by a Harkless rollout and pass to Presley Straub for the two-point conversion gave DSU the victory and put Biesiot alone at No. 1.
“We were going to kick it, but they called timeout and I figured, what the heck, let’s have some fun,” Biesiot said in a Forum Communications article published Oct. 14. “It was as simple as that. Nothing more.”
Along the way, however, controversy arose as the NAIA deemed that St. Francis (Ind.) University coach Kevin Donley, in their eyes, had the same amount of wins as Biesiot despite 11 of his career victories coming at the NCAA Division II level.
“If that’s what they consider a tie, it’s for the birds I guess,” DSU senior defensive back Nolan Schwartz said before the start of the season.
At the end of the season, Donley has 263 career wins (the official NAIA coaching wins record, though he has 252 in the NAIA) while Biesiot sits at 257. Unfortunately, that was as good as it got for the Blue Hawks.
They finished last in the Frontier in several major statistical categories, getting outscored an average of 33.5 to 9.5 points per game and finishing last in such areas as total offense, passing, rushing, rushing defense and sacks.
The silver lining is that though the Blue Hawks go into next season needing to replace several departed seniors, they relied on an array of underclassmen in 2012. Granted most of them return, the Blue Hawks could be poised to begin righting the ship sooner rather than later.