Football Coach

Years Played


Year Inducted


The winningest coach in North Dakota State grid history, he guided the Bison to a 91-25-1 record over 10 seasons including NCAA national championships in both 1988 and 1990.

His teams won five North Central Conference championships (1988, 1990, 1991, 1992, 1994) in that 10-year period and advanced to the national playoffs seven times (compiling a 12-5 mark in NCAA postseason play).

The 1988 national championship team went 14-0 to set a record for the most wins in a single season and the 1990 squad duplicated that effort with another 14-0 campaign. He was named the National Coach of the Year twice (1988, 1990).

Hager served as an assistant coach at NDSU in 1985 and 1986 and was the defensive coordinator for those two national championship squads.

A native of Harvey, N.D., he played his college ball at Minot (N.D.) State, where he was an offensive lineman. He was the head coach at Sherwood (N.D.) High School for three seasons (1974-76) and was an assistant coach at Dickinson (N.D.) High School for two years (1977-78).

Hager became a Bison graduate assistant coach in football in 1979 before leaving in 1980 to spend one year at Morningside College in Iowa and four years at Augustana College in South Dakota as the defensive coordinator at both those North Central Conference schools.

After leaving NDSU in 1996, he joined the football staff at Temple University in Philadelphia and later he became head coach at Northeastern.

Hager and his wife, Peggy, have one son and two daughters.