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After legendary head coach Mel Tjeerdsma stepped down from his duties in December 2010, newly appointed athletic director Wren Baker announced Scott Bostwick would take over the reigns of the highly successful Bearcat football program. However, tragedy struck June 5 when Bostwick passed away unexpectedly leaving a void at the Bearcats top spot once again.
Looking no further than the current coaching staff after a difficult situation, Baker appointed Adam Dorrel as the head football coach. Dorrel who served as an assistant coach since 2004 beings the 2011 season at the helm of one of the most successful programs not only in the MIAA, but in the country. The program enters the season just three wins shy of 500 (497-388-33) in its 96th.
Dorrel, however, is no stranger to Bearcat football, or success. He has been the offensive coordinator at Northwest, helping lead the Bearcats to an unprecedented five consecutive NCAA Division II championship appearances and their third national title in 2009. In Dorrel’s seven seasons with the Bearcats, they have an 87-14 record and added five MIAA Championships.
Dorrel’s offensive unit averaged 42 points and 474 yards per game, ranking in the top 10 nationally in four major offensive categories. The Bearcats were second in scoring, sixth in total offense, third in pass efficiency and eighth in passing.
Impressive team and individual accolades have become the norm rather than the exception under Dorrel. The Bearcats have averaged more than 40 points per game three times and more than 400 yards of offense per game five times in Dorrel’s seven seasons. In addition, 14 offensive stars have been named All-Americans under Dorrel and three of the last four MIAA offensive MVPs have been Bearcats. Jeremy Davis (’08) and Brett Grozinger (’09 and ’10) have been named finalists for the Gene Upshaw Division II Lineman of the Year Award under Dorrel. Currently, there are two Northwest players in the NFL who played for Dorrel. Xavier Omon (’07) is a running back for the San Francisco 49ers, and Tom Pestock (’08) is an offensive tackle for the Arizona Cardinals. Omon was originally drafted by the Buffalo Bills in the seventh round of the 2008 NFL Draft and has played for the Seattle Seahawks as well. Pestock was an undrafted free agent, signed by the Cardinals in 2009 and has been with the team since.
After earning his bachelor’s degree from Northwest in 1998, Dorrel spent a year as a graduate assistant at Northeastern State in Oklahoma. He returned to Northwest as a graduate assistant in 1999 when the team won the second of its back-to-back national titles and completed his master’s degree at Northwest in 2000.
Dorrel served coaching stints at Dakota State University in South Dakota and William Jewell College in Missouri before being appointed offensive line coach at Northwest in 2004. He was promoted to offensive coordinator prior to the 2007 season and then to assistant head coach after Scott Bostwick was named head coach in December.
During the summer of 2008, Dorrel was one of six American football coaches to lead clinics overseas to further strengthen the sport beyond the United States. During the summer of 2007, he served as offensive line coach for Team USA as it competed and won the IFAF World Championships in Japan.
Dorrel himself is a former Northwest All-American, having played under legendary head coach Mel Tjeerdsma. Dorrel was a three-year captain for the Bearcats during his collegiate career as an offensive lineman from 1994 to 1997 and earned All-MIAA honors in 1995, 1996 and 1997. A Maryville native, he also was a two-time All-District and All-Conference lineman at Maryville High School.
Additionally, Dorrel’s family has long ties to Bearcat football, beginning with his great grandfather, Ross Alexander Scott, who was a fullback on the first Bearcat football team in 1908. Dorrel’s grandfather and a great uncle also played in the program during the 1940s.