MARSHALL, Minn. (SMSU) – Southwest Minnesota State University Interim Director of Athletics Bruce Saugstad announced Friday that Scott Underwood has been named head football coach at SMSU.
Underwood comes to SMSU after recording 10 winning seasons with three NCAA playoff appearances in 12 seasons (2008-19) as head coach at St. Cloud State University. The 2011 NSIC Coach of the Year, Underwood compiled a record of 86-51 in 12 seasons, before the program was eliminated following the 2019 season. His teams won seven or more games seven times, including a school record 12 victories in 2013. The Huskies made NCAA playoff appearances in 2010, 2011 and 2013 and won a share of both the NSIC North Division and NSIC overall championship in 2011.
“It is an exciting day for Mustang football as we welcome Scott Underwood as our new head coach,” Saugstad said. “Scott brings a wealth of experience to SMSU with his many years as head coach in the NSIC. In developing student-athletes, he has a proven track record of success on the field and in the classroom. Scott’s knowledge of the game, ability to recruit and develop players, excitement for student-athletes, and quiet confidence showed throughout the interview process. He is a great addition to Mustang Athletics and SMSU.”
Underwood, the 11th head coach in the 53-year history of the SMSU program, succeeds Cory Sauter, who held the position for 12 years.
“I am excited to take the reins of the Mustang football program,” Underwood said. “I would like to thank the hiring committee, Athletic Director Bruce Saugstad and President Dr. Kumara Jayasuriya for their faith in empowering me with this leadership position.”
In his third season as head coach in 2010, Underwood led SCSU to 10 victories and its first NCAA playoff appearance in six seasons. SCSU won its first-round playoff game before losing to the eventual national champion in overtime in the second round. SCSU captured a share of both the NSIC North Division and NSIC overall championship in 2011 and advanced to the NCAA playoffs. SCSU set a team record in 2013 by winning 12 games and advancing to the quarterfinals of the NCAA playoffs before losing to the eventual national champions. SCSU was ranked No. 5 in the final national polls and broke a team record with 24 pass interceptions.
“The Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference is one of the premiere conferences in Division II and it’s a privilege to be back to face-off with familiar rivals on the gridiron,” Underwood said. “I look forward to getting on campus and meeting the student-athletes and coaches as we start the quest to produce victories next Fall for the campus and community.”
Prior to taking over as head coach at SCSU, Underwood served as defensive coordinator for the Huskies (2001-07). Led by Underwood, the SCSU defense ranked among the best in the North Central Conference in the last seven seasons of the league. SCSU won a share of the NCC title in 2002 and hosted a first round NCAA playoff game in 2004.
“I would like to thank SMSU assistant coach Shay McClure for his leadership in an interim role during this transition period,” Saugstad said. “Shay stepped in and did an outstanding job keeping our program moving in the right direction during the hiring process. I would also like to recognize the search committee, led by Kelly Loft – Assistant Athletic Director – for their dedication, commitment, and input throughout the hiring process. This group worked throughout the holidays to keep us moving forward and ultimately hire a great new leader for Mustang football.”
Underwood has achieved tremendous success at each of his previous assistant coaching stops. He was the inside linebackers coach at the University of North Dakota for four seasons (1997-2000), helping lead UND to a pair of NCAA playoff appearances.
Underwood served as the defensive coordinator at the University of Sioux Falls for four seasons (1993-96), assisting the Cougars to three conference championships and three NAIA playoff appearances, including the 1996 NAIA Division II National Championship.
Underwood began his coaching career at his alma mater, Augustana University, where he spent five seasons as the defensive secondary coach (1988-92). The Vikings made back-to-back NCAA playoff appearances in 1988 and 1989 and won eight games three different times.
Underwood was a four-year letter winner as a defensive back for the Vikings while earning a degree in social sciences. He earned his master’s degree from the University of South Dakota.
Scott and his wife, Tamara, have two children, Casey and Brady.
Underwood’s Coaching Career
2008-19 – St. Cloud State University (Head Coach)
2001-07 – St. Cloud State University (Defensive Coordinator)
1997-2000 – University of North Dakota (Linebackers)
1993-96 – University of Sioux Falls (Defensive Coordinator)
1988-92 – Augustana University (Defensive Secondary/Special Teams)