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Northwest Bearcats

Press Release

Dec. 17, 2009

Tjeerdsma Named Finalist for Liberty Mutual COY

MARYVILLE, Mo.-Northwest Missouri State head coach Mel Tjeerdsma is one of five finalists for the 2009 Liberty Mutual Division II Coach of the Year Award, which honors college coaches who demonstrate responsibility and excellence on and off the field.

Joining Tjeerdsma in the final five are Texas A&M-Kingsville's Bo Atterberry, Minnesota Duluth's Bob Nielson, Bloomsburg's Danny Hale and Midwestern State's Bill Maskill. The winner will be announced at a media lunch reception Jan. 6 in Newport Beach, Calif., in advance of the next day's BCS Championship Game.

Tjeerdsma captured his third national title last weekend as his Bearcats topped Grand Valley State 30-23 in Florence, Ala. Northwest won 14 consecutive games after dropping its season opener and finished 9-0 in MIAA play for the fourth year in a row. The Bearcats have won their last 37 games in conference play dating back to 2005.

Bearcat fans can vote daily, through Dec. 29, for Tjeerdsma at www.coachoftheyear.com. Fan votes constitute 20 percent of a coach's final score. If he wins, Liberty Mutual will award Tjeerdsma $50,000 to donate to the charity of his choice and a $20,000 grant to the Northwest alumni association for student scholarship and activities.

Tjeerdsma was 0-11 in his first season at Northwest. The program is 171-30 in his 15 years since, winning national titles in 1998, 1999 and 2009 and capturing 11 MIAA championships. The Bearcats have competed in the last five national championship games - a first for any Division II program.

For more information, please contact:

Media Relations Department, Northwest Athletics
sid@nwmissouri.edu | 660.562.1118 | Fax: 660.562.1582

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