All three have strong ties to the Midwest and will continue to help move the vision of Head Coach Mark Dufner forward for the Golden Eagle football program.

CROOKSTON, Minn. – The University of Minnesota Crookston football program announced the addition of three assistant coaches to their staff for the 2019 season. The Golden Eagles have announced Cory McNeil as an assistant coach for wide receivers and tight ends. In addition, Michael Day will be the linebackers coach, while Derek Bakken will be the defensive line coach. All three have strong ties to the Midwest and will continue to help move the vision of Head Coach Mark Dufner forward for the Golden Eagle football program.

    “All three coaches will be great additions to our staff,” Dufner said. “We are excited to get them on campus as we get ready for the 2019 season.”

Cory McNeil

    McNeil comes to Minnesota Crookston from Ellsworth Community College in Iowa Falls, Iowa. McNeil was the special teams coordinator and a wide receivers coach for the Panthers for the 2018 season. He had one player earn all-conference first team accolades, and one player earn all-conference second team recognition. Five of his players at Ellsworth Community College moved on to four-year colleges at either the NCAA Division I or NCAA Division II level.

    He was previously a graduate assistant coach at Tabor College in Hillsboro, Kan., for the 2016 and 2017 seasons. During his time with Tabor, McNeil coaches the running backs and special teams. He was part of two KCAC conference championships, helping the Bluejays to a 16-5 mark. He helped coach two All-KCAC first team picks at running back, two all-conference kickers, one All-KCAC second team punter, a two-time all-conference punt returner, and one All-KCAC first team kick returner.

    During the 2015 season, McNeil was the offensive coordinator at Prestonwood Christian Academy in Plano, Texas.

    McNeil was a collegiate kicker. He began his career at Cisco Junior College in Cisco, Texas. McNeil made six field goals as a freshman at Cisco Junior College with a long field goal of 42. As a sophomore, McNeil made six field goals with a long of 35 yards. He went on to play at the NCAA Division II level for one season at Henderson State University. McNeil finished his final season of collegiate football at NCAA Division III school East Texas Baptist University in Marshall, Texas. In his one season with the Tigers, McNeil was 8-of-12 on field goals with a long of 47. He was named team captain at East Texas Baptist for the 2013 season. He earned Player of the Week honors multiple times during the 2013 campaign. McNeil was a student assistant coach for East Texas Baptist during the 2014 season, working primarily with kickers, punters, and long snappers.

    He earned his Bachelor of Science degree in General Studies from East Texas Baptist University and received his Master of Business degree with an emphasis in leadership from Tabor College. McNeil played one season in the Athletic Indoor Football League for the East Texas Punch. He is a native of Carrollton, Texas.

    “Cory will assist on the offensive side of the ball,” Dufner said. “In addition, he has a great deal of experience working with special teams and will be an asset there.”

Michael Day

    Day served as an offensive quality control coach for Augustana University during the 2018 season. Day assisted with the tight ends for the Vikings. He helped Chet Peerenboom to a strong season with 26 catches for 375 yards. Peerenboom had two receiving touchdowns during Day’s first season with the program. In addition, he assisted with breaking down opponent film, recruiting, and assisted with preparations for the defensive scout team. During his time with Augustana, he helped the Vikings to a 7-4 mark on the 2018 season.

    Day came to Augustana from another NSIC program in Minnesota State University, his alma mater. While with the Mavericks, he served as director of football operations for the 2017 season. In that role, Day assisted Head Coach Todd Hoffner with budget expenses, created social media videos and graphics, and assisted in team travel and official visits. Prior to his role as director of football operations, he was a student assistant coach and football operations assistant. He worked primarily with the defensive line and also helped out in additional areas on the defense. In his second season at Minnesota State, the Mavericks went 13-1 winning an outright NSIC Championship, earning the No. 2 seed in NCAA Super Region three. Minnesota State went on to advance to the NCAA Regional Championship game.

    Prior to arriving at Minnesota State, Day was a student assistant at Culver-Stockton College in Canton, Mo. At Culver-Stockton, he helped out with the offensive line and helped run the offensive scout team.

    Day was also a student assistant coach at Rochester Community and Technical College in Rochester, Minn. At RCTC, Day worked under Bill Quistorff where he worked with recruiting and served as a defensive assistant under RCTC Defensive Coordinator Joe Ties over three seasons. During the 2015 season, the Yellow Jackets put up their best season in school history with an 11-1 mark and an appearance in the 2015 NJCAA National Championship game, only the third time a non-scholarship program had made it to the game in the history of NJCAA. During his time at RCTC, the program went 31-5 and 31-5 in MCAC conference play with three-straight MCAC Conference Championships. The team also boasted a 9-0 mark in MCAC conference playoff games, and participated in two Graphic Edge Bowl games.

    Day earned his Bachelor of Science degree in Interdisciplinary Studies in the fall of 2017. He is currently working on his master’s degree in sports administration and leadership from Augustana.

    “Michael will assist on the defensive side of the ball,” Dufner said. “He is very good with social media and graphics which are important in the recruiting process; in addition, Michael is very familiar with the NSIC from his time at Augustana and Minnesota State.”

Derek Bakken

    Derek Bakken comes to Minnesota Crookston after spending two years as the assistant head coach/linebackers coach for Mayville State University in Mayville, N.D. He helped Josiah Walker lead the Comets in tackles in 2018 with 70 tackles. Walker also added 6.5 tackles for loss and a sack. In 2017, he helped Kamron Engler finish third on the team in tackles with 63 on the season.

    In addition to working at Mayville State, Bakken also spent three seasons with the Fargo Invaders, a semi-pro team in the NSFL. Bakken helped the Invaders to a NSFL League Championship in 2016. In addition, he was named NSFL Coach of the Year in 2016. His 2016 defensive squad gave up just two points per game. He also served as general manager/defensive coordinator for the Invaders in 2017 as they transitioned into the Northern Elite Football League. During the 2017 season, the Fargo Invaders were eliminated in the playoffs after capturing a share of the Western Division regular-season championship. In addition, he was the 2014 MPFL Defensive Coach of the Year.

    Prior to his year with the Fargo Invaders, Bakken spent 22 seasons coaching at the high school level. His most recent job was as the head coach at Oak Grove Lutheran School in Fargo, N.D., a post he last held in 2015. He has also served as an assistant coach at Oak Grove Lutheran School and West Fargo High School. He was a coach on the 2007 Oak Grove Lutheran School squad that captured the AA State Championship in North Dakota.

    Bakken is a native of Drake, N.D., he played college football at Dickinson State University as a linebacker. He was a member of the 1986 Dickinson State football team that is in the school’s Hall of Fame.  

    “Derek will assist on the defensive side of the ball,” Dufner said. “He has proven himself to be an effective recruiter and is well-known throughout the region.”

    The trio joins a staff led by Head Coach Mark Dufner, who is in his third season leading the program. Dufner is in his 18th season on the Minnesota Crookston staff. Tom Miller, returns for his second season as defensive coordinator. Miller is in his sixth season on staff for Minnesota Crookston and he will also work with the defensive backs. Jared Hottle is in his second season as offensive coordinator. He will work with the quarterbacks and running backs. Michael Hepp is in his second season with the Golden Eagles. He made the transition to offensive line coach for the 2019 season.