NATCHITOCHES, La. -- LSU co-defensive coordinator Bradley Dale Peveto, whose highly-successful 21-year college football coaching career includes the Tigers’ 2007 BCS national championship and Northwestern State’s FCS semifinal playoff season of 1998, was named the Demons’ head coach Thursday.
Northwestern State director of athletics Greg Burke made the announcement Thursday evening. Peveto, 45, will be introduced on campus at a press conference late Monday afternoon. The appointment is subject to the approval of the Board of Supervisors of the University of Louisiana system, which includes Northwestern.
Peveto will complete his duties as co-defensive coordinator and linebackers coach at LSU when the Tigers play Georgia Tech in the Dec. 31 Chick-Fil-A Bowl in Atlanta. His hiring culminates an extensive national search begun Nov. 25 when Burke announced Northwestern was not renewing the contract of head coach Scott Stoker, who had an overall 43-38 mark in seven seasons but had not reached the FCS playoffs since 2004.
Highly regarded as a recruiter and for coaching aggressive defenses, Peveto becomes the 13th head coach in the 101-year history of intercollegiate football at Northwestern. He was defensive coordinator for the Demons under the school’s winningest head coach, Sam Goodwin, from 1996-98.
Northwestern won the Southland Conference championship and reached the FCS playoffs in 1997 and 1998, going 12-2 in the SLC and 19-7 overall in those seasons. The 1998 team finished with a No. 3 national ranking and reached No. 2 at the outset of the national playoffs, hosting three postseason games in Turpin Stadium before a fourth-quarter rally by eventual national champion Massachusetts halted the 11-3 Demons in a semifinal game. The 1997 Demons shared the SLC title by winning six straight games after a 2-3 start, capping the run with a stirring 38-21 homefield triumph over rival Stephen F. Austin, denying the Lumberjacks a co-championship and a postseason berth.
Peveto has also been defensive coordinator at Middle Tennessee State and Houston, where he was also assistant head coach in 2002. He has also been part of coaching staffs at Arkansas, Southern Mississippi, Stephen F. Austin and Trinity Valley Community College. The Orangefield, Texas, native played in four bowl games from 1982-86 at SMU, where he was a safety, special teams star and team captain while the Mustangs went 43-14.
“I’m so humbled by this opportunity and the faith that Mr. Burke and the administration of Northwestern State are showing in me,” he said. “It’s a tremendous opportunity. Everything you need in a championship program is on hand, starting with great people from President (Dr. Randy) Webb on down the line, and centered around our very hard-nosed, well-coached bunch of football players.
“We’re very excited to be a part of the Northwestern State family again, and excited about moving back to Natchitoches. What a special place it is! Melissa and I love the people there and we love Northwestern State. We had a wonderful three years there and so we are really looking forward to getting back, getting to work and raising our children there.
“I’m so appreciative to Coach Les Miles and the LSU Tigers for four great years. It has been a wonderful ride. Without his guidance and confidence in me, I would never have been ready for this opportunity. I’m a much better football coach and person for being under his leadership. I’ve had the privilege of coaching some great players, and great young men, who have made my job a lot of fun. The final part of the mix is the Tiger fans, who simply are the best in the nation.”
Said Burke: “This is a great day for NSU Demon football! Bradley Dale Peveto possesses a dynamic and player-oriented coaching style which has served him well over a 21-year Division I coaching career and will immediately provide an infusion of energy and excitement to those within the Demon football locker room and among the NSU fan base.
“Coach Peveto fits perfectly the profile of what we wanted in our next head coach. Bradley Dale has been a part of successful programs – including last year’s BCS national championship – throughout his career. He is a tireless recruiter who is very familiar with every nook and cranny of the NSU recruiting base and has had great success signing players from those areas throughout his career. His charisma and outgoing personality will create a much-desired symbiosis between the NSU football program and its alumni/fan base, as well as catching the attention of those who haven’t been involved with Demon football.
“Bringing those attributes into our head coaching position is so critical as it will be the catalyst to generate new ticket revenue to benefit the entire athletic department, create more community relations and service opportunities for our football players, and enhance the image of our football program and our university,” said Burke.
“Bradley Dale is a relentless worker whose career path has been building toward this point. He has been putting in place for a long time a vision and well-organized plan that could be fully implemented when he received a head coaching opportunity. It goes beyond football into the lives of his players, their academic pursuits, and reaching out to being a positive and involved force in the community and the area we serve.
““Bradley Dale and Melissa made many friends here during their time with us a decade ago. They are a perfect fit for the community and campus relations aspect of this job.
Peveto accepted the job early Thursday evening after completing LSU’s afternoon practice and meeting with Miles, who had endorsed his assistant for the NSU job.
“This is a great opportunity for Bradley Dale and his family,” said Miles. “Bradley Dale has been a great contributor to what is an outstanding group of assistant coaches here at LSU. He’s been a part of a national championship and four bowl games so he knows what it takes to be successful.
“On the field, Bradley Dale has tremendous knowledge of the game in all three phases - offense, defense and special teams. I’m confident that he will do a great job there and we are going to enjoy pulling for him and Northwestern State on Saturday’s next fall,” said Miles.