USD announces football coaching staff changes

USD announces football coaching staff changes
Ed Meierkort, head coach of The University of South Dakota football team, has announced the hiring of three assistant coaches for the 2008 season.

Jarod Dodson has been promoted to defensive coordinator and will coach the defensive backs. Meierkort also announced that Todd Strop has been hired as the team's special teams coordinator and linebackers coach and that Wesley Beschorner has been hired as the quarterbacks coach.

Dodson, who was recently named one of three finalist for the AFCA Assistant Coach of the Year award, has been a member of Meierkort's coaching staff since the 2004 season. This past season he began the year working with the wide receivers and was the special teams coordinator.

He also spent time in 2007 working with the defensive backs. In the past four seasons at USD, he has coached Jordan Davis who was an All-American defensive back and wide receiver Brooks Little who holds the school record for career receptions.

In 2006 the Coyote defense was ranked fourth in the nation in run defense and also recorded 12 interceptions. Prior to joining Meierkort's staff, Dodson was the defensive coordinator and special teams coordinator at Michigan Tech University from 2000-03. Dodson also has playing experience at South Dakota, as he was a standout cornerback during the 1996 and 1997 seasons.

Following his playing days, Dodson served as a graduate assistant at USD for the 1998-99 seasons. He earned his earned his bachelor's degree in recreation in 1999 then received his master's degree in health and physical education in 2000, both from South Dakota.

"I'm sure you could see this coming when Jarod moved to defensive backs coach to shore up some things and did a fantastic job," said Meierkort. "He is a guy that bleeds Coyote red and will do an excellent job. When you are in a strong program you shouldn't have to look far for a replacement and Jarod is an excellent example of the strong Coyote coaching staff."

Strop, who was a three-time letterwinner at the University of Wisconsin under Barry Alvarez, comes to South Dakota after spending the past season at Hamline University as the defensive coordinator and defensive backs coach.

In 2007, Strop's defensive unit led the Minnesota Intercollegiate Athletic Conference in creating turnovers. Prior to his stop at Hamline, Strop coached at the University of Wisconsin-Stout where he was the head coach after serving as an assistant to Meierkort.

Strop was the head coach from 2004-06 where he led the team to a 14-15 record and posted the third-best winning percentage in school history. In 2004 and 2005 the offense led the league in total offense. Under Meierkort, Strop was the team's defensive coordinator from 1998 through 2003. Under his guidance, the team led the Wisconsin Intercollegiate Athletic Conference in total defense three times and in 2002 was the nation's number one run defense in NCAA Division III.

Strop was a graduate assistant coach at Ohio University in 1994, working for current Wake Forest University head coach Jim Grobe. He earned his bachelor's degree in 1992 in history at Wisconsin then received his master's degree in athletic administration in 1995 from Ohio.

"Todd is one of the best recruiters I've ever been around," said Meierkort. "His knowledge and experience as a head coach and a defensive coordinator will be very valuable to the Coyote football program."

After a legendary playing career and two seasons as a graduate assistant, Beschorner joins the Coyote coaching staff as a full time assistant. This past season he worked as the running backs coach and coached Amos Allen, who set the USD single season rushing record with 1,961 yards and was the NCAA Division II regular season rushing champion.

In 2006 he was the wide receivers coach as the Coyote offense ranked fourth in the nation in total offense. In his four-year career as quarterback at USD, Beschorner broke 33 school records. In 2005 he was the first Coyote to be a finalist for the Harlon Hill award as he was the runner-up.

He threw for 6,240 yards and 64 touchdown passes in his career, both of which are South Dakota records. He was the first player in school history to record 500 or more yards of total offense in a game when he had 519 yards in 2005 in a 59-14 win over Nebraska-Omaha.

He was named to four All-America teams and was named the College Sports Report Offensive Player of the Year in 2005. Beschorner is a 2005 USD graduate with his degree in history education.

"I've said this many times, but Wes is one of the best football players I have ever seen and I honestly believe he is a better coach than player," said Meierkort. "This is a no brainer. He can relate to the kids. This was one of the easiest hires I have ever made."

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