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Northwest Bearcats

Press Release

Jan. 13, 2008

Tjeerdsma Named AFCA Coach of the Year

MARYVILLE, Mo.-Northwest Missouri State Head Football Coach Mel Tjeerdsma has been named the NCAA Division II Coach of the Year by the American Football Coaches Association (AFCA). The announcement was made Tuesday at the AFCA's yearly convention in Nashville, Tenn.

Tjeerdsma joins Appalachian State's Jerry Moore, Ohio State's Jim Tressel, Alabama's Bear Bryant and North Alabama's Bobby Wallace as three-time Coach of the Year winners. Mount Union's Larry Kehres (9), Penn State's Joe Paterno (5) and Augustana's (Ill.) Bob Reade (4) are the only coaches to be named Coach of the Year more than three times.

Tjeerdsma earned back-to-back Coach of the Year honors in 1998 and 1999 when he led the Bearcats to consecutive Division II national championships. Tjeerdsma has coached in the championship game six times in the last 11 seasons.

Tjeerdsma led the Bearcats to a 13-2 record, a third-consecutive MIAA championship and a fourth consecutive berth in the NCAA Division II championship game in 2008. Tjeerdsma has won 25 postseason games - the most in Division II history.

Northwest was 0-11 in Tjeerdsma's first season at Northwest in 1994. The team is 157-29 since.

Tjeerdsma boasts a 25-year coaching record of 216-78-4 (.732). He's 157-40 in 15 seasons at Northwest and was 59-38-4 in 10 seasons at Austin College (1984-93). His 216 wins are the 10th-most in Division II history. Four more wins will place him in a tie for seventh place on that list.

Tjeerdsma has led the Bearcats to the playoffs 11 times in the last 13 seasons and to 10 conference titles. The 2008 squad was the eighth to go 9-0 in MIAA play under Tjeerdsma.

Tjeerdsma has been named MIAA Coach of the Year 10 times (1995-2000, 2002, 2006-08). He's been named AFCA Regional Coach of the Year seven times (1996-2000, 2006, 2008).

Other 2009 Winners: Utah's Kyle Whittingham (D-I, FBS); Richmond's Mike London (D-I, FCS); Mount Union's Larry Kehres (D-III); Sioux Falls' Kalen DeBoer (NAIA)

All-Time Winners: A total of 142 men representing 103 institutions have been honored by the AFCA as AFCA National Coach of the Year since the program was established in 1935.

Triple Winners: Mel Tjeerdsma's third Coach of the Year award makes Northwest Missouri State one of only five schools with three winners.

AFCF Grants
The full-time assistant coaches at the five schools represented by the AFCA National Coach of the Year winners will receive a $1,000 grant from the American Football Coaches Foundation that can be used to further their education or professional development.

Award History
Lynn "Pappy" Waldorf, then of Northwestern, was named as the first AFCA National Coach of the Year in 1935. One national winner was selected from 1935-59.

From 1960-82, two national winners were selected - one representing the University Division and one from the College Division. From 1983-2005, four national winners were chosen.

In 2006, the AFCA started honoring the NAIA Coach of the Year, giving us the five honorees we have today.

Prior to 2006, the NAIA was a part of the AFCA's Division II membership category.

Oldest Award
The AFCA's Coach of the Year award is the oldest of all Coach of the Year awards and is one of only two Coach of the Year awards recognized by the NCAA in Football Bowl Subdivision and the only Coach of the Year award recognized in the NCAA's three other divisions.

The NCAA does not select a "coach of the year" for college football. When a coach is referred to as "NCAA Coach of the Year," he is usually the AFCA Coach of the Year winner.

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