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Dec. 13, 2010
MARYVILLE, Mo. - The Division II Football Hall of Fame will induct Northwest Missouri State University head football coach Mel Tjeerdsma, one of the most successful coaches in the history of college football, as part of its Hall of Fame class of 2010 on Friday, Dec. 17.
Tjeerdsma, along with Ken Sparks, head coach at Carson-Newman (Tenn.) College, and Bobby Wallace, head coach at the University of West Alabama, will be inducted as part of a combined Harlon Hill Trophy and Division II Football Hall of Fame Banquet at 6:30 p.m. at the Marriott Shoals Conference Center in Florence, Ala. Tickets are $50 each or $400 for a table of eight and are available by calling the Shoals Chamber of Commerce at 256.764.4661 or the UNA Sports Information Office at 256.765.4595.
Established in 1999, the Division II Football Hall of Fame has inducted former Division II players annually for the last 11 years. The 2010 inductions will mark the first group of coaches to be honored.
Tjeerdsma, who just completed his 17th season at Northwest Missouri State and his 27th as a collegiate head coach, led the Bearcats to five consecutive appearances in the Division II Championship Game from 2005 to 2009 and three NCAA national titles in 1998, 1999 and 2009. He and Wallace are the only coaches in the 37-year history of the Division II Football Championship to have coached three national championship teams.
Tjeerdsma is the winningest coach in Northwest football program history with a record of 183-43. His 242 wins in Division II, which includes 10 seasons at Austin College in Texas, are the third most in Division II history. Tjeerdsma's Northwest teams have won 12 MIAA conference championships and made 13 NCAA playoff appearances at Northwest. His 42 playoff games coached, 32 playoff wins and seven championship game appearances are the most in Division II history. His 1998 national championship team was also the first in Division II history to go 15-0.
Tjeerdsma is a four-time AFCA Division II Coach of the Year (1998, 1999, 2008, 2009) and 12-time MIAA Coach of the Year (1995-2000, 2002, 2006-10). Ten teams under Tjeerdsma have finished undefeated in league play, and the Bearcats have won 46 consecutive regular season games against MIAA opponents.
Under his leadership, Northwest has produced 41 All-Americans and 119 All-MIAA student-athletes, including 80 players who have earned first-team honors. The Northwest football program has an academic success rate of 85 percent, compared to the national average of 53 percent for Division II football programs.At the same banquet commemorating Tjeerdsma's hall of fame induction, senior quarterback Blake Bolles will be recognized as one three national finalists for this year's Harlon Hill Award. Last month, Ryan Jones was named the league's Most Valuable Defensive Player, marking the sixth time in the last 11 seasons a Bearcat has captured the award. Five players have been the league's Most Valuable Offensive Player under Tjeerdsma. Fifteen Bearcats have either been drafted or have signed NFL contracts during Tjeerdsma's tenure.
Mark Hornickel, Communication Manager
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Northwest Missouri State University
215 Administration Building | 800 University Drive | Maryville, MO 64468