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Northwest Missouri State University

News Release

July 27, 2011

Northwest to honor legendary football coach, his wife with Mel and Carol Tjeerdsma Day

Updated Aug. 24, 2011

Mel Tjeerdsma

Mel Tjeerdsma

Carol Tjeerdsma

Carol Tjeerdsma

MARYVILLE, Mo. - Northwest Missouri State University will honor its recently retired Bearcat football coach and his wife in September during Mel and Carol Tjeerdsma Day. 

"We are excited to have the opportunity to honor Mel, Carol and the Tjeerdsma family," Northwest Director of Athletics Wren Baker said. "The Tjeerdsma family has made many contributions to this institution, athletic department and the Maryville community. We know the campus and community will enjoy having the opportunity to say ‘thank you' to two of our most dedicated Bearcats."

The two-day celebration begins Friday, Sept. 9, with a reception, dinner and tribute. The reception begins at 6 p.m. in the Lamkin Activity Center foyer; the dinner and tribute begins at 7 p.m. in Bearcat Arena.

The cost for the Friday evening events is $100 per person. Private reserved tables of eight are available for $800, and private reserved tables of 10 are available for $1,000. Proceeds benefit the Coach T Student-Athlete Success Program, which improves academic and life enrichment opportunities for Northwest student-athletes. Dress is casual, Bearcat attire.

The deadline to register for the Friday night event is Friday, Sept. 2. Register by clicking here or calling 660.562.1248.

Patrons who cannot attend the event but wish to contribute to the Coach T Student-Athlete Success Program may do so by clicking here.

A series of events also will take place in the Tjeerdsmas' honor Saturday, Sept 10, coinciding with the Bearcat football team's home opener against the University of Sioux Falls. Kickoff is 6 p.m. at Bearcat Stadium.

Former Bearcat football players are invited to a reunion from 10 a.m. to noon on the Gaunt House lawn. The event is by invitation only. Players may register by clicking here.

The day continues with Bearcat Zone festivities honoring the Tjeerdsmas from 4 to 6 p.m. at College Park. The celebration will include free mini posters to be autographed by Coach Tjeerdsma, collectible bobbleheads of Coach Tjeerdsma for purchase, tailgate food for purchase, and performances by the Bearcat Marching Band, Northwest Steppers and Cheer Squad.

The Tjeerdsmas also will be recognized at the football game. Fans may purchase tickets online by visiting and finding ticket information in the drop-down menu under "game day" or by contacting the Student Services Center at 660.562.1212. Individual game tickets go on sale Monday, Aug. 22.

Fans also may leave special messages for Mel and Carol Tjeerdsma using an online form. Messages will be compiled and presented to the Tjeerdsmas during the celebration.

For more information about the events, call Brenda Untiedt at 660.562.1248.

Mel Tjeerdsma, who retired in December 2010 after coaching the Bearcats for 17 seasons, elevated the Northwest football program to one of the greatest in the history of Division II.

Under his leadership, the Bearcats won back-to-back national championships in 1998 and 1999. Northwest added a third championship in 2009, capping an unprecedented run of five national championship game appearances that began in 2005.

Among his peers in Division II, Tjeerdsma's 242 victories are third on the active wins list when he retired, and he tallied more postseason victories than any other coach in Division II history. He led Northwest to the playoffs 13 times in the last 15 seasons, sporting a 32-10 overall postseason record and is the program's all-time winningest coach.

From 1996 to his last season in 2010, Tjeerdsma's teams won 12 conference championships, and 10 of those teams finished 9-0 in league play. Northwest won 41 consecutive conference games from 1997-2001, a record that stood until his squad surpassed it in 2010.

Tjeerdsma was the Liberty Mutual Division II National Coach of the Year in 2009 and was among the first three coaches inducted into the NCAA Division II College Football Hall of Fame in 2010. He is a 12-time MIAA Coach of the Year honoree and was inducted into the MIAA Hall of Fame in June.

Carol Tjeerdsma retired from Northwest in June as instructor of curriculum and instruction. After arriving at Northwest with her husband in 1994, she became an integral part of the Department of Curriculum and Instruction, teaching special education and general education courses. She was chair of the College of Education and Human Services' Diversity Team, coordinated volunteer projects and served on the board of directors for Big Brothers Big Sisters of Nodaway County.

For more information, please contact:

Mark Hornickel, Communication Manager | 660.562.1704 | Fax: 660.562.1900

Northwest Missouri State University
215 Administration Building | 800 University Drive | Maryville, MO 64468