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Northwest Bearcats

Press Release

Jan. 10, 2006

Tjeerdsma Named 2006 AFCA President

DALLAS, Texas - Mel Tjeerdsma, head football coach at Northwest Missouri State University, will lead the American Football Coaches Association in 2006 as president of the organization.

Tjeerdsma, who moves up from first vice-president of the Association, succeeds outgoing president Scot Dapp of Moravian College. Tjeerdsma was elected president by members attending the Association's 2006 convention this week in Dallas.

"It's very humbling to be on the Board of Trustees with so many high-profile coaches," Tjeerdsma said. "Serving on the AFCA Board of Trustees is something that never crossed my mind early in my career. I'm honored to serve as our president."

The AFCA, founded in 1922 by Amos Alonzo Stagg, John Heisman and others, has more than 10,000 members from all levels of the profession. According to its constitution, the AFCA was formed, in part, to "maintain the highest possible standards in football and the coaching profession," and to "provide a forum for the discussion and study of all matters pertaining to football and coaching."

In addition to Tjeerdsma, 2006 AFCA officers include first vice-president Ken Sparks, Carson-Newman College; second vice-president Tyrone Willingham of the University of Washington and third vice-president Dick Tomey of San Jose State University.

Also serving on the Board in 2006: Larry Kehres, Mount Union College; Rob Ash, Drake University; Chuck Amato, North Carolina State University; Lloyd Carr, University of Michigan; Mike Bellotti, University of Oregon; Tim Murphy, Harvard University; Joe Glenn, University of Wyoming; Joe Novak, Northern Illinois University; Tommy Tuberville, Auburn University; Rich Rodriguez, West Virginia University and Rob Ianello, University of Notre Dame, ex officio member and chairman of the Assistant Coaches Committee. Mike Welch, Ithaca (N.Y.) College, and Dan McCarney, Iowa State University, are newly-elected members of the Board this year. AFCA Executive Director Grant Teaff serves as secretary-treasurer of the organization.

Tjeerdsma is the first coach from Northwest Missouri State to serve as president of the AFCA. He was first elected to the Board of Trustees in 1999. He is the first coach from a Division II school to serve as AFCA President since Shippensburg's (Pa.) Rocky Rees in 1999.

For the past 12 seasons, Tjeerdsma has guided Northwest Missouri State from a winless program to one of the nation's elite in Division II. He has a 118-35 record as the Bearcats head coach, and combined with his 10 seasons at Austin College, Tjeerdsma has an overall mark of 176-74-4 (.701). He is currently 14th on the NCAA Division II (active coaches) winning percentage list (.701), fourth in total wins (176) and tied for second in active post-season victories (16).

Tjeerdsma holds the school record for most victories at Northwest Missouri State with 118, and he is the only head coach in school history to lead the Bearcats to multiple playoff appearances, coach the program to a victory in a playoff game and host a playoff game at Bearcat Stadium. In 1998, Tjeerdsma led Northwest Missouri State to its first ever Division II national championship, and followed it up with a second title in 1999.

Under Tjeerdsma's leadership, Northwest Missouri State has won seven Mid-America Intercollegiate Athletic Association titles in his 12 seasons, which is one short of tying the league mark for most championships won by a head coach. He is a seven-time MIAA Coach of the Year winner (1995, 1996-2000, 2002) and has led the Bearcats to 11 or more wins in eight of his 12 years.

Tjeerdsma earned back-to-back AFCA Division II National Coach of the Year honors in 1998 and 1999 in the Bearcats two national championship seasons, and he is also a five-time AFCA Regional Coach of the Year (1996-2000) honoree.

Prior to coaching at Northwest, Tjeerdsma was the head coach at Austin College in Sherman, Texas, from 1984 to 1993. He compiled a 60-38-4 record and guided Austin College to three Texas Intercollegiate Athletic Association championships and made two trips to the NAIA Division II playoffs. Before Austin College, Tjeerdsma was the offensive coordinator at Northwestern (Iowa) College for eight years. The Red Raiders earned four trips to the NAIA Division II playoffs during his stint, including a national championship in 1983.

Tjeerdsma also served as head coach at Denison (Iowa) High School, where he guided his team to a 9-0 record in 1975 and a berth in the state playoffs. He earned Northwest Iowa Football Coach of the Year honors in 1972 and was the Northwest Iowa Track and Field Coach of the Year in 1973, 1974 and 1975.

For more information on the AFCA and its programs log on to the AFCA's website at

For more information, please contact:

Media Relations Department, Northwest Athletics | 660.562.1118 | Fax: 660.562.1582

Northwest Athletics
Lamkin Activity Center | 800 University Drive | Maryville, MO 64468