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Northwest Bearcats

Press Release

May 20, 2010

Tjeerdsma Elected to Division II Football Hall of Fame

Mel Tjeerdsma

Northwest's legendary coach is one of three to be honored

MARYVILLE, Mo.-The Division II Football Hall of Fame has named three of the most successful coaches in the history of college football as its Hall of Fame Class of 2010, and will induct Mel Tjeerdsma, Ken Sparks and Bobby Wallace as its 12th induction class on Dec. 17.

Established in 1999, the Division II Football Hall of Fame has inducted former Division II players annually for the last 11 years. The 2010 inductions will mark the first group of coaches to be honored.

"It has been our intention since the Hall of Fame was created in 1999 to not only honor the outstanding players from Division II but also the outstanding coaches within the division," said Hall of Fame Chairman Jeff Hodges. "Our induction of Shannon Sharpe last December gave us 25 players in the Hall, and with this year being the 25th anniversary of the Division II Championship Game's move to Florence, we felt it was perfect timing.

"While all three of these coaches selected are still actively coaching at Division II programs, our committee felt that each had already reached a pinnacle of success deserving of Hall of Fame recognition."

Tjeerdsma, who has completed 16 seasons at Northwest Missouri State, has led the Bearcats to five consecutive appearances in the Division II Championship Game and to three NCAA titles. He and Wallace are the only coaches in the 37-year history of the Division II Football Championship to have coached three national championship teams.

Tjeerdsma has 230 overall collegiate wins, won 11 conference championships and made 12 NCAA playoff appearances at Northwest. His 38 playoff games coached, 29 playoff wins and seven championship game appearances are the most in Division II history. His 1998 national championship team was also the first in Division II history to go 15-0.

Tjeerdsma is a four-time AFCA Division II Coach of the Year (1998, 1999, 2008, 2009) and 11-time MIAA Coach of the Year (1995-2000, 2002, 2006-09). His program will enter the 2010 season with 37 consecutive wins in MIAA play.

Sparks, current head coach at Carson-Newman (Tenn.) College, ranks as the winningest coach in Division II history. He has won 13 conference championships and made 12 NCAA playoff appearances in the last 17 years. His overall record in 30 seasons is 287-70-2 and has the third-most wins among active coaches in all NCAA divisions. He has led Carson-Newman to three Championship Game appearances in Florence.

Wallace, current head coach at the University of West Alabama, became the first coach in college football history to win as many as 40 games in just three seasons when he led the University of North Alabama to a 41-1 record and three straight NCAA Division II National Championships from 1993-95. He is also the only coach in Division II to ever win three straight national championships. Wallace has led seven teams to Division II post-season play, including West Alabama last season, marking the school's first NCAA appearance since 1975. He was previously named Division II Coach of the Quarter Century (1972-97).

The trio of coaches will be inducted on Dec. 17 as part of a combined Harlon Hill Trophy and Division II Football Hall of Fame Banquet at 6:30 p.m. at the Marriott Shoals Conference Center in Florence, Ala. Tickets are $50 each or $400 for a table of eight and are available by calling the Shoals Chamber of Commerce (256) 764-4661 or the UNA Sports Information Office at (256) 765-4595.

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