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Northwest Bearcats

Press Release

Oct. 18, 2006

Tjeerdsma Nominated for Liberty Mutual Coach of the Year Award; Fans Play Role in Voting Process

vote for coach Tjeerdsma, click here

BOSTON, Mass. - Northwest Missouri State head football coach Mel Tjeerdsma has been nominated for the 2006 Liberty Mutual Coach of the Year Award, given to the college football coach who best exemplifies responsibility and excellence on and off the field. The one winner will be picked from a selection committee made up of members of the College Football Hall of Fame, the national media and fans across the country. Fans can vote by going to and selecting coach Tjeerdsma from the drop-down menu - you can vote through Nov. 5 on a daily basis.

Some of the criteria the committee will look at is in four areas: high level of professional competence; commitment to the well being and development of student-athletes; high ethical standards and; civic and charitable stewardship.

The Liberty Mutual Coach of the Year will receive a personal trophy, will be featured in the December 16 television special, and will be recognized in a Coach of the Year exhibit at the College Football Hall of Fame in South Bend, Ind. Liberty Mutual also will award $100,000 to support the winning coach's civic and charitable activities, and $20,000 for scholarships to the alumni association of the winning coach's school. Al football head coaches at an NCAA-member college or university at all division levels are eligible for consideration.

Liberty Mutual is the sixth largest property and casualty insurer in the U.S. This is the first year that Liberty Mutual has sponsored this award.

Following is a look at Tjeerdsma's credentials (as of Oct. 19):
On-field excellence
At Northwest, holds most wins (125), Mid-America Intercollegiate Athletics Association (MIAA) titles (7), tied for most winning seasons (12), best win percentage (coaches over five years) (.771) … Second-most MIAA titles in league history … Led Northwest to first every playoff win in 1996, two national championship titles in 1998 and 1999 (1st in school history), and 2005 national championship game … Took over Division II team (first season) in 1994 to win MIAA title two years later … In 13th season, has 12 straight winning seasons; eight seasons of 11-plus wins; led team eight times to the NCAA playoffs (16-6 record); five times has started 10-0; second-fastest MIAA coach to win 100 wins (in 129 games); posted five undefeated league campaigns … Serves as America Football Coaches Association (AFCA) President (all divisions) from Jan. 2006-Jan. 2007 - First Division II coach since 1999 to serve as president … Coming into 2006, tied for second in Division II career active postseason wins, fourth in active wins, and 14th in active win percentage … AFCA Division II Coach of the Year in 1998 and 1999; AFCA Regional Coach of the Year from 1996-2000; MIAA Coach of the Year (1995-2000, 2002) … Since 2000, Northwest has 67 wins - tied for 3rd in NCAA … The 1998 season, which went 15-0, is the only NCAA Division II team to go 15-0 in a single season.

Commitment to Student-Athletes
Team grade point average has been consistently around 2.8 over the past ten years … Graduation rate is among the top-three in the MIAA … Mentored linebacker John Edmonds, a Draddy Finalist (Academic Heisman) in 2003 … Two MIAA Ken B. Jones Winner (conference student-athlete of the year) - Josh Lamberson and Tucker Woolsey … Coached quarterback Josh Lamberson, who was 2006 ESPN The Magazine Academic All-America (College Division) of the Year and South Central Region NCAA Division II Commissioner's Association Scholar-Athlete of the Year … Team ranked in top-three in MIAA Academic All-Conference team every year in past 10 seasons … Team is part of the Student-Athlete Success Program-there are progress and attendance checks every four weeks; coaches serve as mentors for student athletes; help improve and tutor academic skills of student-athletes.

Civic and Charitable Stewardship
Bearcat Booster Club Member ... Active member of the Lions Club … Deacon of the First Baptist Church … Director supervises and works "Spring Clean-Up" - football staff and players rake leaves, pick up trash, yard enhancement for senior citizens in local community … Speaks at local schools (elementary through high school) including programs for graduation, motivation, D.A.R.E. … Delivers meals to senior citizens in a volunteer program through the Lions Club … Chairman of the Division II AFCA All-American Team for past eight years ... Contributes to several organizations including: FCA, Campus Crusade, St. Frances Hospital, United Way, American Heart Association, National Foundation for Cancer Research., March of Dimes, The Diabetes Foundation ... Donates items for community fundraising auctions.

Additional Information
Turned around a program he inherited in 1994 (0-11 record) to a conference championship two years later (11-2 record) … AFCA President from Jan. 2006-Jan. 2007 - first Division II coach to be AFCA president since 1999 … 12 straight winning seasons (including 7-0 start in 2006)-longest such streak in history … Before his arrival, Northwest had just 12 winning seasons during a 34-year span

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