Pete Stanton has finished a perfect season – at least the conference part.
But the newly-named North Star Athletic Association Coach of the Year will have to wait until spring to conclude his football season.
The Baker graduate and former three-sport athlete with the Spartans led the Blue Hawks of Dickinson State University in North Dakota to a 9-0 record this fall.
However, the coach has to wait for the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics football playoffs to start in 2021 after they were rescheduled because of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The team won its sixth straight conference crown and finished the regular season as only the sixth Blue Hawk squad ever to go undefeated.
His team easily won the title with their perfect record, finishing ahead of Valley State, Waldorf, Dakota State, Mayville State and Presentation.
The Blue Hawks opened the season with a 26-14 win over Dakota State in September, then followed that with wins over Mayville State (51-26), Valley City (27-13), Presentation (35-6), Dakota State (23-3), Mayville State (37-7), Waldorf (28-13), Valley City (26-14), Presentation (54-32).
For Stanton, it was the fifth time named as the coach of the year.
According to the athletic department at the university, Stanton was named the 15th head coach in Dickinson State history in December of 2013. He has been with the program for 21 years after spending 14 years as an assistant coach.
At the start of the season, he was third amongst Dickinson State coaches in career wins after accumulating a 50-18 record in six years.
Stanton has led the Blue Hawks to the NSAA conference championship and appearances in the NAIA national playoffs in 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018, and 2019. In 2018 he led the Blue Hawks to the NAIA quarter finals and won the first road playoff game in school history.
In 2019 the Blue Hawks became the first team in school history to win five consecutive conference championships. As a head coach, Stanton has coached nine All-American players.
Stanton came to Dickinson State in 2000 after being the head football coach at Terry (MT) for nine years and the head coach at Belgrade (MT) for two years. He had a 70-20 record at Terry High School where his teams made the playoffs all nine years. The Terry teams advanced to the state championship game on three different occasions.
Stanton is also an alumni, playing for the Blue Hawks during their era of domination in the mid-80’s. He was part of two playoff teams and his three-year record as a player at DSU was 25-4.
Stanton was a two-time All-Conference and All-District selection as a safety. In 1987, he was named First Team NAIA All-American and an Academic All-American. He was awarded the Harry J. Wienbergen male athlete of the year award as a senior and was inducted into the Dickinson State Athletic Hall of Fame in 2004.
Stanton earned a Master’s Degree from Montana State University and is currently serving as the athletic director for the Blue Hawks.
(Dickinson State University athletic department contributed to this article)