DEFENSIVE COACHING STAFF
Brian Mohnsen | Assistant Head Coach/Def. Coordinator/Comm. Service
Assistant head coach Brian Mohnsen, affectionately known as coach “Moose”, has been a part of college football since his playing days at University of Nebraska in the early 90s and has been a part of 13 conference championships. Mohnsen oversees the defensive line of the Coyotes.
Mohnsen first teamed with head coach Bob Nielson at Western Illinois in 2014. He made the move to Vermillion alongside Nielson in December of 2015.
Mohnsen’s coaching career began at his alma mater in 1992. He spent 12 years on staff with the Huskers, serving as director of the video scouting department and assisted with gameday management. He worked alongside legendary coach Tom Osborne and was a part of national championships in 1994, 1995 and 1997.
In 2004, Mohnsen became the defensive coordinator at Northwestern Oklahoma State where he guided a Ranger defense that ranked in the top five in rushing, passing and scoring defense. He transitioned to defensive line coach at Minnesota State where he spent the 2005 season.
Mohnsen worked on staff at Buffalo from 2006-09 where he coached the linebackers (2006) and defensive line (2007-09). Mohnsen helped lead the Bulls to back-to-back Mid-American Conference East Division Championships and to Buffalo’s first-ever trip to a bowl game in 2008 (International Bowl).
Mohnsen served as defensive coordinator and linebackers coach for Nebraska alum Tony Samuel at Southeast Missouri State for three years starting in 2011. He moved to Macomb, Ill., ahead of the 2014 season to serve as defensive line coach for Nielson at Western Illinois and was promoted to assistant head coach for defense ahead of the 2015 campaign.
Mohnsen helped lead the Leathernecks to the 2015 FCS playoffs, the first trip for the program since 2010. Western Illinois advanced to the second round to culminate a seven-win season. At USD in 2016, the Coyote defense compiled 26 sacks, had 63 tackles-for-loss, and forced 23 turnovers in 11 games, which ranked in the top 25 nationally.
Mohnsen graduated from Nebraska in 1991 with a degree in secondary education. He and his wife, Kerri, have a daughter, Madison.
Atiba Bradley | ILBs
Atiba Bradley joined head coach Bob Nielson at South Dakota in December of 2015. Bradley is the Coyotes' co-defensive coordinator and linebackers coach.
Bradley started his coaching career in 2006 at Missouri Southern State as a student assistant while finishing his degree in general studies with an emphasis in mathematics. During that season, he coached the cornerbacks. In 2007, he was hired as an intern coach and worked with the tight ends and offensive line.
Bradley continued his career as a graduate assistant at the University of Missouri in 2008. He was in charge of the Tigers’ offensive quality control and helped Mizzou to a prolific offensive season that broke numerous school scoring and yardage records. In 2009, he made the move from offense to defense and served as the defensive graduate assistant coach.
Bradley worked at Missouri Southern, his alma mater, in 2010-11. He was the linebackers coach, recruiting coordinator and oversaw the academic progress of student-athletes.
In 2012, Bradley coached at Quincy University and was the defensive and recruiting coordinator. Bradley made an immediate impact as the Hawks transitioned to the NCAA Division II level. Four of his players on defense earned All-Great Lakes Valley Conference Second Team honors.
When Nielson was named Western Illinois’ head coach in 2013, he recruited Bradley to be his linebackers coach. In his first season, Bradley helped the defensive unit rank seventh nationally in total defense and third in passing defense. Western’s top four linebackers combined for 22 tackles for loss, 8.5 sacks, six interceptions and 12 pass break-ups. One of his linebackers, Kevin Kintzel, was named All-MVFC and was honored by the College Football Performance Awards and received the organization’s Linebacker Award (given to one of the top linebackers in Division I FCS).
In 2014, Bradley’s linebacker squad had two of the top players in the Missouri Valley Football Conference in tackles per game including Kintzel, who earned All-MVFC honors for the second consecutive season.
For the 2015 season, Bradley was promoted to co-defensive coordinator. He helped Western Illinois return to the Division I FCS playoffs for the first time since 2010 and advanced to the second round. This past season, he helped senior linebacker Jet Moreland to all-MVFC honors after Moreland became the second Coyote since 2000 to surpass 100 tackles in a season.
During his playing days at Missouri Southern, Bradley was a two-time all-conference linebacker. Prior to college, he was an all-state performer as a prep offensive and defensive lineman at Joplin High School.
Bradley married Jacquelyn Dukart in June 2008. The couple has three children, Briauna, Kiara Nicole and Marcus.
Mark Watson | Defensive Backs
Mark Watson Jr. came to Vermillion alongside head coach Bob Nielson in December of 2015. Watson is the Coyotes’ cornerbacks coach, the position he held for Nielson at Western Illinois in 2015.
Watson began his career at Drake University in 2010 and continued to work there throughout the 2011 season. Both seasons that Watson worked with the Bulldogs, the team led the Pioneer League in interceptions. The 2011 team won the PFL title, finishing seventh nationally (FCS) in scoring defense and 10th in total defense.
In 2012, Watson made the move to USC and worked as the graduate assistant coach in the secondary. The Trojans ended the season 7-6 and the defense finished 41st in pass efficiency and tied for 40th in scoring defense.
Watson continued his career at Western Illinois in 2013 and was in charge of the wide receivers. Watson’s receiving core was made up of mostly newcomers and two of the top receivers were true-freshmen. Lance Lenoir Jr. was named to the Missouri Valley Football Conference All-Newcomer team after becoming the first WIU freshman to lead the team in receiving yards and touchdowns. Lenoir’s seven touchdown receptions tied for second-most nationally by a freshman. Joey Borsellino became the first WIU freshman to lead the team in receptions.
The success continued throughout the 2014 season. Lenoir set a program record for most receptions in a season, became the only underclassman to record 1,000 receiving yards in a season and was named First-Team All-MVFC. Borsellino surpassed 1,000 receiving yards during the season, as did senior Hi-C Scott, one of the few times in Leatherneck history three receivers on the same team had 1,000 career yards.
In 2015, Watson made the move from offense to defense and coached in the secondary. He helped WIU return to the FCS playoffs for the first time since 2010. The team advanced to the second round and finished the season with seven wins. In his first year with the Coyotes, South Dakota came away with 12 interceptions and had cornerback Danny Rambo earn honorable mention all-MVFC honors.
Originally from St. Charles, Missouri, Watson began his playing career at Missouri Southern before transferring to McPherson College. Watson was a two-year starter at McPherson and team captain his senior year. Watson graduated from McPherson in 2010 with a bachelor’s degree in business management.
During his prep career at Francis Howell High School, Watson was a three-sport athlete in football, baseball and track. He helped his baseball team win the 2003 Class 4A state title and was a member of the 4x100 relay team that set the school record.
Watson and his wife, Antheria, have three children, Tatiana, Makayla and Amaya.
Al Sega | Defensive Line
Al Sega joined South Dakota's coaching staff in the summer of 2017 after spending nearly two decades as a high school and collegiate coach in Eau Claire, Wisconsin. Sega works primarily with the Coyotes' defensive tackles.
South Dakota is the third program that Sega has served under Bob Nielson. The two previously teamed up at both Wisconsin-Eau Claire and at Minnesota Duluth.
Sega competed collegiately at UW-Eau Claire in both the 1993 and 1994 seasons. Since then, he has served on the coaching staff at UW-Eau Claire for five years, and was a football coach at Eau Claire Memorial High School for 12 years. His only deviation came when he followed Nielson from Eau Claire to Minnesota Duluth in 1999 and served on Nielson’s staff thru the 2003 campaign.
When Nielson resigned at Duluth at the end of the 2003 season to become the department’s athletic director, Sega returned to Wisconsin and began at Memorial. He served as defensive line coach for three seasons before being promoted to defensive coordinator, and was named co-head coach in 2009. Sega kept those titles until 2016 when he returned to the staff at UW-Eau Claire.
In addition to his coaching duties, Sega has spent 21 years as a manager at Eau Claire County Children’s Court Services where he has provided administrative support and direct supervision to staff of Children’s Court Services units. Sega has also been a case worker, a detention worker and training officer in Eau Claire.
Sega earned his bachelor’s degree from UW-Superior in 1996. He and his wife, Meleina, have four children, Avery, Meleina, Mickey and Ashley, and one grandson, McKeague.
Rob Aurich | Special Teams Coord./OLBs
Rob Aurich was added to Bob Nielson's staff in February of 2018. He will serve as special teams coordinator and coach outside linebackers for the Coyotes this upcoming season.
Aurich competed for Nielson at Minnesota Duluth and won national titles with the Bulldogs in 2008 and 2010. Aurich, who graduated as the program’s second-leading tackler with 310, was a first-team All-American in 2009 and a three-time all-NSIC honoree.
Aurich has been on the coaching staff at Bemidji State University in Minnesota the last four seasons and served as defensive coordinator for the Beavers in 2017. BSU has gone 24-10 in its last three seasons. The Beavers featured a top-25 defense this past season that included national rankings of seventh in interceptions and 18th in sacks.
Prior to Bemidji, Aurich worked as an outside account executive at Livingston International in Chicago and prior to that as a paralegal intern in Duluth. He received his bachelor’s degree in criminology from UMD in 2010 and completed his master’s degree in business administration from BSU in 2015.
Jay Burns | Defensive GA/Quality Control
Abdul Hodge | Outside Linebackers
Abdul Hodge was named South Dakota's outside linebackers coach in February of 2019. Hodge was a three-time all-Big Ten linebacker for the Iowa Hawkeyes during a playing career that spanned 2002-05. He was selected by the Green Bay Packers in the third round of the 2006 NFL Draft and spent five years playing in the NFL for the Packers, Cincinnati Bengals and Carolina Panthers.
Following his career in the NFL, Hodge founded Professional Interactive Solutions in his hometown of Fort Lauderdale, Florida, a company that helps businesses grow their online presence. In addition to running the business, Hodge served as an assistant coach for several high schools and was head coach and defensive coordinator at GAIN Sports in Sarasota, Florida, from 2013-16. Most recently, he served as a football consultant for Iowa and was a coaching intern for the NFL’s Tennessee Titans.
Hodge and his wife, Chabli, reside in Vermillion. They have a daughter, Amari, and a son, Abdul Jr.