Director of Football Operations
Bonnicksen is in his third year as UM’s director of football operations for coach Bob Stitt’s program.
He was the assistant athletic director for athletic communications at Colorado School of Mines and previously served as Mines’ sports information director for three years after joining the Mines athletics staff in December of 2011.
While at Mines he was responsible for the promotion of the Orediggers’ 18 intercollegiate athletics programs through the school’s athletics website (www.csmorediggers.com), in addition to composing press releases, print publications, game programs, and game notes while keeping track of statistics and records.
He also served as the Orediggers’ primary contact for football, volleyball, men’s basketball, wrestling, baseball and golf. He oversaw a 74% increase in news stories on the Mines’ web site during his tenure.
He was named the 2013 RMAC Cambell/Marshall Sports Information Director of the Year for the 2012-13 academic year, as voted on by the conference’s 14 sports information directors. In addition, he was an American Volleyball Coaches Association (AVCA) 2012 Chad Burger Media Award honoree for volleyball coverage in the South Central Region.
Bonnicksen came to Mines following a one-and-a-half-year stint as the associate director of athletic media relations at the University of North Carolina at Pembroke in Pembroke, N.C. While there he oversaw the audio/video streaming efforts of the athletic department and also produced and served as the occasional host of The Black and Gold Report - the highest rated TV show in its time slot in major markets located in both North Carolina and South Carolina. He also served as the play-by-play voice for UNCP’s online webcasting efforts for football and wrestling.
Prior to his stint at UNCP, he was a graduate assistant in the sports information office at Northern State University in Aberdeen, S.D. He also was an intern in the athletic communications department at his alma mater, Minnesota State University-Mankato.
He is a 2008 graduate of Minnesota State-Mankato with a Bachelor’s Degree in Sports Management. The Ringsted, Iowa, native received his Master’s Degree in Education, with an emphasis in health, physical education and coaching from Northern State in May 2010.
He and his wife Colleen celebrated the birth of their first baby Amelia in August.
Strength & Conditioning Coach
Nicholson is in his third season as the Grizzly football program’s strength and conditioning coach. He also serves at the team's NFL Liaison.
He came to Montana from Colorado School of Mines in 2015 where he worked with Griz head coach Bob Stitt for two seasons. At Mines, Nicholson coached the linebackers as well directed the strength and conditioning program for the football team, in addition to other sports.
In his last season at Mines, the Orediggers went 10-2 and tied for the conference championship with an 8-1 league record and advanced to the NCAA playoffs. The 10-2 record gave Coach Stitt his 13th winning season in 15 years and program-record eight-straight winning seasons overall. Two of Nicholson’s linebackers, Kole Kadavy and Billy Sprague, were selected to the first team All-RMAC.
In 2013, the Orediggers posted an 8-3 record, including a 7-2 record in the RMAC to finish 2nd in the league. Nicholson’s pupil, Tyler Denson, was a first team All-RMAC selection.
Prior to Golden, Nicholson spent three years as an assistant coach at his alma-mater, the University of Houston. He spent nine months as a weight room assistant before joining the football staff as a graduate assistant. He assisted with the linebackers in 2011 and helped the club to rank amongst national leaders in sacks, tackles-for-loss and interceptions. Additionally, the Cougars posted a 13-1 record and won the Ticket City Bowl against Penn State in the 2011 campaign. In 2012, he was a defensive backs assistant before returning back to a linebacker assistant in 2013.
Nicholson also was selected to be the head football coach for the Houston Youth Impact Program in 2011. The Youth Impact Program was designed to mentor at-risk youth by combining academic and life skills tutoring with football skills. Over 100 middle school-aged boys joined the program.
Nicholson played linebacker at Houston from 2006-2010, racking up 179 tackles, despite missing 20 games his final three season due to injuries. Starting his career as a walk-on and progressing to a scholarship player, he played in 47 career games for the Cougars and served as a team captain during the 2009 and 2010 seasons. He was named Tom Wilson Off-season MVP in both 2009 and 2010 and was also named Houston’s special teams player of the year in 2006 as a true freshman walk-on. He was also a 2010 Burlsworth Trophy nominee, which is awarded to college football’s most outstanding player who began their career as a walk-on.
He received his Bachelor’s Degree in Kinesiology/Sport Administration from Houston in December 2010. He graduated with a Master’s Degree in Human Resource Development in the spring of 2013 from Houston as well.
A native of Plano, Texas, and a product of Plano Senior High School, Nicholson helped carry the Wildcats to a 13-1 record and an appearance in the regional finals as a senior. Nicholson was an honorable mention 5A all-state selection as a senior for the wildcats in football in addition to being named first-team all-state in lacrosse.
Matt has a son, Ryan.
Manke is in his third season on the Montana staff, and 2017 will mark his first year as a wide receivers assistant coach. In 2016 Manke served as a defensive analyst fo the Griz. He started in 2015 as the team's video coordinator.