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Northwest Bearcats

Press Release


Feb. 10, 2011

Tjeerdsma to lead 2011 National Team

Courtesy of USA Football

MEL TJEERDSMA (pronounced "CHURCH-ma"), the former head coach at Northwest Missouri State University, will lead the 2011 U.S. Men's National Team in football in the fourth International Federation of American Football (IFAF) Senior World Championship July 8-16 in Austria.  USA Football assembles America's national teams in the sport for international competition.

The IFAF Senior World Championship is an eight-nation football tournament held every four years since 1999. Games will be played in Graz, Innsbruck and Vienna. The U.S. defeated Japan, 23-20, in double overtime in Tokyo, Japan, to win the 2007 tournament, the first that included Team USA. Prior to the United States' participation, Japan earned gold medals at the first two IFAF Senior World Championships played in Palermo, Italy (1999), and Frankfurt, Germany (2003).

IFAF is comprised of 59 member counties spanning five continents that possess national federations dedicated solely to American football.

Tjeerdsma was 183-43 (.810) in 17 seasons at Northwest Missouri State in Maryville, Mo. His teams played in seven NCAA Division II national championship games, winning three. He was the Liberty Mutual National Coach of the Year in 2009 and was among the first three coaches inducted into the NCAA Division II College Football Hall of Fame. He retired in 2010.

The U.S. Men's National Team offensive coordinator is LARRY KEHRES (pronounced "CARE-us"), head coach of the University of Mount Union in Alliance, Ohio. Kehres is 303-23-3 (.926) in 25 seasons with the Purple Raiders, winning 10 NCAA Division III national championships in 14 title game appearances. His teams also have won 19 consecutive Ohio Athletic Conference crowns, 21 in all.

The U.S. defensive coordinator is LOU TEPPER, a former head coach at Illinois, Edinboro (Pa.) and Indiana University of Pennsylvania. Tepper was the Illini head coach from 1991-96, going 25-31-2 and reaching three bowl games. He is 101-75-2 (.573) overall in 16 seasons a head coach. Tepper has served as the architect of elite defenses in his 17 years as a Division I defensive coordinator at Virginia Tech, Colorado and Illinois.

"I am honored and excited to lead our national team in Austria against the world's best competition," Tjeerdsma said. "Team USA will be befitting of the title ‘U.S. National Team' by how we play and how we represent our country - with integrity, intelligence and pride.

"We welcome the challenge to defend our gold medal against excellent football coaches and players across four continents."

"Coach Tjeerdsma continues USA Football's proud history of national team head coaches, melding great football intelligence with high character and team-first values that this game represents," USA Football Executive Director SCOTT HALLENBECK said. "His selection of coordinators - Coach Kehres and Coach Tepper - reinforces this team's strong foundation of leadership."

The United States is part of Group A along with Mexico, Germany and Australia. All Group A games will be played in Innsbruck. Group B teams will play in Graz and include Canada, France, Austria and either Japan or South Korea. Japan hosts South Korea in Tokyo on Saturday, Feb. 26, for the right to represent Asia in Austria. All medal round games will be held in Vienna. A round robin schedule in group play determines who will compete for gold and bronze medals.

USA Football is accepting nominations for athletes age 20 and older to be part of the Men's National Team. Forty-five (45) players will be selected from current NCAA athletes and graduating college seniors as well as other athletes age 20 and older. The NCAA recognizes USA Football as the sport's national governing body. Participation in USA Football's national teams does not affect collegiate eligibility. A training camp will take place June 28 to July 4 prior to Team USA's departure for Austria.













United States


Japan or Korea

U.S. Men's National Team Schedule:




July 8

United States vs. Australia

9:00 a.m. ET

July 10

Germany vs. United States

1:00 p.m. ET

July 12

United States vs. Mexico

1:00 p.m. ET

                                      *Games above will be played in Innsbruck, Austria

2011 IFAF Senior World Championship Medal Round Schedule:




July 15

Bronze Medal Game

1:00 p.m. ET

July 16

Gold Medal Game

1:00 p.m. ET

                                      *Games above will be played in Vienna, Austria

About USA Football

USA Football, the sport's national governing body, inspires participation, and ensures a positive experience for all youth, high school, and other amateur players. The independent non-profit hosts more than 80 football training events annually for coaches, players and youth football league commissioners. USA Football is the official youth football development partner of the NFL, its 32 teams and the NFL Players Association and manages U.S. national teams for international competition. Endowed by the NFL and NFLPA in 2002 through the NFL Youth Football Fund, USA Football distributes $1 million annually in equipment grants and offers youth league volunteer background check subsidies. Former NFL team executive Carl Peterson is USA Football's chairman.


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