June 28, 2007
Board of Regents Unanimously Approve Naming Playing Surface at Bearcat Stadium "Mel Tjeerdsma Field"
MARYVILLE - The Northwest Missouri State University Board of Regents approved today the naming of the playing surface of Bearcat Stadium to the "Mel Tjeerdsma Field" in open session at the J.W. Jones Student Union Boardroom. The naming comes as work continues on the installation of FieldTurf and lights at Bearcat Stadium scheduled to be completed Aug. 12.
"I'm honored and humbled that they would consider doing this, especially since I'm still coaching," Tjeerdsma said. "I think its a tribute to what the coaching staff and players have done in the last 13 years, and to me that the most important part - it's about everybody."
Tjeerdsma will be entering his 14th season as the head football coach at Northwest and 24th in his career. At Northwest, he has assembled a 132-36 (.786) record, led teams to national titles in 1998 and 1999 and national runner-up finishes in 2005 and 2006. He has guided programs to eight Mid-America Intercollegiate Athletic Association titles and has been named MIAA Coach of the Year eight times.
He served as president of the American Football Coaches Association in 2006, the first Division II coach to hold that position since 1999, and has been named AFCA National Coach of the Year twice and AFCA Regional Coach of the Year six times. His teams have advanced to the NCAA postseason nine times, and with 19 career playoff victories, is the all-time winningest Division II coach in that category. In 2006, he was one of ten finalists, one of two from Division II institutions, to be in contention for the Liberty Mutual Coach of the Year Award.
Tjeerdsma holds a 191-75-4 career record in 23 seasons, after going 60-38-4 at Austin (Texas) College from 1984-93. At Austin, he guided his squads to Texas Intercollegiate Athletic Association Championships three times and advanced to the NAIA Division II playoffs twice.
"There are occasions in the life and history of a University where one of its professional staff members, through their service, leadership, competence, and performance establishes an impressive and distinguished record of excellence that far exceeds all of their predecessors and establishes a standard by which all future professionals in that position will be forever measured," said Director of Athletics Dr. Bob Boerigter. "This is the case with our head football coach, Mel Tjeerdsma."
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