Dec. 13, 2005
Tatum to Leave Northwest for Missouri Southern Coaching Position
story is aided by Missouri Southern Sports Information office
JOPLIN, Mo. - Northwest Missouri State football offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach Bart Tatum resigned his position and was introduced as the ninth head football coach at Missouri Southern State University, announced today. Tatum succeeds coach John Ware, who passed away suddenly on Sept. 27, 2005.
"This is something that I've prepared for for a long time, and I've thought about it since I was an undergraduate at Austin College in Sherman, Texas," Tatum said. "I've waited for what my perception would be is the right situation for myself and my family, and I think this is it.
"I just feel like this is a place where we can make steady incremental progress and do something really special."
Northwest Missouri head football coach Mel Tjeerdsma comments on Tatum's departure.
"First, I am really excited for him and this opportunity," said head coach Tjeerdsma. "The fact that he has taken the next step on his list of goals and to be a college head coach in an outstanding program and outstanding league says a lot about Bart.
"Obviously he has done an outstanding job for us in all of his responsibilities. The last two as a coordinator, his skills were put on display and it shows how quality of a coach he is. We will miss him but that is all part of the game. He is only the fourth coach to leave during my time in 12 years. That says a lot about our program and our University."
Bart Tatum has long prepared to be a collegiate head football coach. He has two bachelor's degrees, two master's, and a doctorate. Tatum has worked and studied for the last 12 seasons on the coaching staff of
one of the top football teams in the Mid-America Intercollegiate Athletics Association, Northwest Missouri State. He has been a part of seven MIAA championship teams, eight NCAA Division II postseason squads and two NCAA-II national championship teams. Just three days ago, Tatum
was coaching as part of the NWMSU staff in the program's third appearance in an NCAA-II championship game.
Tatum played collegiate football under coach Tjeerdsma at Austin College and later joined his college head coach on the staff at Northwest Missouri State in 1994. Following an 0-11 season in '94, the Bearcats have since posted a 118-25 record, winning MIAA championships from 1996-2000 and 2002-03. Northwest won national championships in 1998 and 1999 and finished as NCAA-II runner-up in a season that just came to an end Saturday.
Tatum said his relationship with coach Tjeerdsma goes well beyond merely coaching together.
"He's like blood, family to me," Tatum said. "A lot of who I am today and anything that could be positive in my career, I owe a debt of gratitude to him. "
MSSU director of athletics Sallie Beard said Tatum's stay at a perennial power like Northwest made his candidacy appealing.
"I think we had a very strong pool of candidates, I will say that," said Beard. "But I think the thing that stood out (about Tatum) was his length of service at one institution in the MIAA and the success
that they've had.
"While he was at Northwest for 12 years, he played an integral role in what that institution has enviably accomplished: two national championships, seven MIAA championships and eight NCAA Division II
postseason appearances in 10 years."
Academics will be priority No. 1, Tatum said.
"I hope to attract a group of coaches that will emphasize first and foremost academic production," he said. "We want to create an environment where going to class, participating in class and excelling in the classroom is valued. That's going to be first and foremost on our minds.
"I'm going to meet with the players individually over the next two days. It's critical that we visit on a one-on-one basis with each player, and then it's going to be critical that we put together a great coaching staff. That's the most important thing that we'll do over the next couple weeks. We plan on putting together a staff that will be awesome community members, active, and educators, because that's why we're here. We just hope to establish a climate of learning and competition and that's going to be our goals."
Tatum served as offensive line coach and recruiting coordinator for eight years at NWMSU and was promoted to assistant head coach prior to the 2002 season. He added the titles of offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach prior to the 2004 campaign. Under Tatum's guidance in 2004, the Bearcats fielded the nation's No. 2-ranked scoring offense and No. 10-ranked total offense. His charges ranked No. 21 nationally in rushing offense and 31st in pass offense. In 2005, NWMSU ranked 23rd nationally in passing offense.
Tatum recruited multiple first-team all-conference players while at Northwest, as 27 of the team's 65 first-team All-MIAA selections during his tenure were his recruits. He also brought in 15 of 32
All-Americans. Additionally, he recruited all three of Northwest's Hula Bowl invitees. Tatu coached quarterback Josh Lamberson to second-team All-MIAA honors in 2004 despite Lamberson, whose quarterback rating was among the best in the country, missing most of the second half of the season with an injury. In 2005, Lamberson was again a second-team All-MIAA selection. In addition, Tatum has coached 10 Bearcat offensive linemen to earn All-America awards. Also, he has led his charges to first team All-MIAA status 13 times.
Prior to his time at Northwest, Tatum served as the defensive ends coach at Sam Houston State University during the 1993 season. He was a graduate assistant at Sam Houston in 1992 (tight ends) and at Austin College in 1991 (defensive line).
Tatum holds a master's degree from Austin College in teaching and another in Kiniesiology from Sam Houston. He earned his doctorate from the University of Missouri-Columbia in educational leadership and policy analysis in 2002. He earned bachelor's degrees from Austin College with a double major in history and physical education.
An All-Texas Intercollegiate Athletic Association running back at his alma mater, he won the TIAA rushing title and set a school record for rushing touchdowns. As a high school player at Cooper (Texas) High School, Tatum rushed for more than 1,000 yards twice and earned all-district honors on both
offense and defense.
He and his wife, Rachel, are the parents of three sons Alec, Miles, and Matthew.
Coach Tjeerdsma plans on filling the vacancy of offensive coordinator very quickly.
"Our first priority is whoever we bring in has to fit our staff," said Tjeerdsma. "That is more important than where they have been or what they have done."
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