Hendrickson named AFCA NAIA Region 3 Coach of the Year

Kansas Wesleyan football coach Myers Hendrickson, who guided the Coyotes to the Kansas Conference title, a berth in the NAIA playoffs and a 12-1 record, has been chosen the American Football Coaches Association’s NAIA Region 3 Co-Coach of the Year.

Hendrickson shares award with Culver-Stockton’s Tom Sallay. Hendrickson, Sallay and four other regional winners are finalists for NAIA National Coach of the Year, which will be announced by the AFCA during the American Football Coaches Awards on January 14.

Hendrickson, who completed his first season at KWU, inherited an experienced and talent-laden team from former coach Matt Drinkall when he was hired in January. He led KWU to a 10-0 record in the KCAC and a victory over Baker in the first round of the NAIA playoffs at Graves Family Sports Complex before losing to Lindsey Wilson in the quarterfinals at Graves Complex.

Six Coyotes received AFCA-NAIA and NAIA All-America honors earlier this month – Johnny Feauto (SR/Boulder, Colo.), Shaq Bradford (SR/San Diego, Calif.), Trenton Poe-Evans (SR/Needles, Calif.), Demarco Prewitt (SR/Menifee, Calif.), Stevie Williams (JR/East Los Angeles, Calif.) and Eli Smith (SR/Severy, Kan.).

Hendrickson, who came to Wesleyan after one season as Offensive Coordinator at Northern State (S.D.), was chosen KCAC Coach of the Year in November. He was a graduate assistant under Drinkall at KWU during the 2014 and 2015 seasons before spending two seasons as Offensive Coordinator at Coe.

“This is truly a team award,” Hendrickson said. “It should be Region 3 Coaching Staff of the Year award, in my opinion, not the head coach award. But I’m honored to be recognized for Kansas Wesleyan University and Coyote football. I think it’s a team award more than anything else.”

Hendrickson credits his success to the efforts of those he works with on a daily basis.

“The biggest key was the teamwork that went into this,” he said. “I was fortunate to come to work every single day and work with an outstanding coaching staff.

“I came into a good situation and foundation that had been laid by Matt Drinkall. To able to come in and continue the success of Coyote football was the most fun I’ve ever had in my life. There’s no question about that.”

Hendrickson said his plan for the 2019 season began the day he was hired.

“It goes back to when I was named head coach and the approach we were going to take, which is going 1-0 every day,” he said. “We talked about success won’t be given and everything will be earned. The target was on Kansas Wesleyan all year in the KCAC, so every single week we had to bring our A-game and play our best game every Saturday.

“The players bought into the 1-0 mentality, the coaching staff bought in. I think you saw the belief carry through the season. It was a product of the players believing in one another, they bought into the direction that we took this fall and I’m thankful for them doing that.”

Hendrickson said the first and one of his most notable achievements was keeping the coaching staff intact from the 2018 season when KWU finished 13-1 and advanced to the NAIA semifinals under Drinkall, who accepted an assistant’s position at Army West Point during the offseason.

The one coach he added was his father Mark, who came out of retirement after a lengthy career as a assistant and head coach at the Division I level.

“Transition is never easy but I think we made the transition as smooth as possible,” Myers Hendrickson said. “I was fortunate to keep John Michaletti on, Bryant Beal on, Matt Myers on and our graduate assistants (Sam CampJosh Lewis and Kre’tien Webb). Everybody had a huge hand in our success.

“It was a lot of fun and we’re going to keep having fun. We’re excited to keep moving full speed ahead.”

North Dakota State’s Matt Entz and Morningside’s Steve Ryan highlight today’s announcement of the American Football Coaches Association’s 2019 Regional Coach of the Year winners for Football Championship Subdivision (FCS), Division II, Division III and NAIA. These winners will be honored at the American Football Coaches Awards, on Tuesday, January 14, during the 2020 AFCA Convention in Nashville, Tennessee.

The AFCA recognizes five regional Coach of the Year winners in each of the Association’s five divisions: Football Bowl Subdivision, Football Championship Subdivision, Division II, Division III and NAIA. The winners are selected by Active members of the Association who vote for coaches in their respective regions and divisions.

In his first season as a head coach, Entz has continued North Dakota State’s winning ways, guiding the Bison to a 13-0 record, the Missouri Valley Football Conference (MVFC) title and a trip to the quarterfinal round of the NCAA FCS playoffs. Prior to being named head coach, Entz was North Dakota State’s defensive coordinator and linebackers coach for five years, helping the Bison win five MVFC titles and four NCAA FCS national championships.

Ryan earned his sixth straight AFCA Regional honor by leading Morningside to a 13-0 record, the Great Plains Athletic Conference title and an appearance in their second straight NAIA national championship game. Ryan has an overall record of 183-40 in his 18 years at Morningside, with one NAIA national championship and 10 GPAC titles.

2019 AFCA FCS, Division II, Division III and NAIA Regional Coaches of the Year

Football Championship Subdivision
Region 1: Buddy Teevens, Dartmouth College
Region 2: Kevin Callahan, Monmouth University (N.J.)
Region 3: Mark Hudspeth, Austin Peay State University
Region 4: Matt Entz, North Dakota State University
Region 5: Jay Hill, Weber State University

Division II
Region 1: Jim Clements, Kutztown University
Region 2: *Drew Cronic, Lenoir-Rhyne University
Region 3: Jim Svoboda, University of Central Missouri
Region 4: *Todd Knight, Ouachita Baptist University
Region 5: *Todd Hoffner, Minnesota State University

Division III
Region 1: Jeff Behrman, Union College (N.Y.)
Region 2: Nate Milne, Muhlenberg College
Region 3: Michael Clark, Bridgewater College (Va.)
Region 4: Peter Stuursma, Hope College
Region 5: Bob Owens, Chapman University

Region 1: Doug Socha, Keiser University
Region 2: *Mark Henninger, Marian University
Region 3: Tom Sallay, Culver-Stockton College & Myers Hendrickson, Kansas Wesleyan University (tie)
Region 4: *Steve Ryan, Morningside College
Region 5: Mike Nesbitt, Ottawa University-Arizona
*-2018 winner

AFCA National Coach of the Year: The AFCA will announce the 2019 National Coaches of the Year winners in FBS, FCS, Division II, Division III and NAIA at the American Football Coaches Awards on Tuesday, January 14. The Regional winners in each division are finalists for National Coach of the Year.

Award History: The AFCA began recognizing district coaches of the year following the 1960 season. The awards were established the same year Eastman Kodak agreed to sponsor the AFCA Coach of the Year award. Prior to 1960, the Scripps-Howard newspaper chain had sponsored the program, which recognized one national Coach of the Year.

The AFCA first recognized eight district winners in each of two divisions: university and college. In 1972, a ninth district was added in each division. In 1983, the award was changed to recognize regional winners instead of district winners. The number of divisions was also increased from two to four and five regional winners were selected in each division. This resulted in a more equitable selection process and better represented the make-up of the membership. At the same time, the new system increased the number of honorees from 18 to 20. In 2006, the AFCA Division II Award was split into separate Division II and NAIA divisions, giving us the 25 winners we now recognize.

Repeat Winners: Lenoir-Rhyne’s Drew Cronic, Ouachita Baptist’s Todd Knight, Minnesota State’s Todd Hoffner, Marian’s Mark Henninger and Morningside’s Steve Ryan are the repeat winners from 2018. Ryan has won six Regional honors in a row, from 2014-19, and nine total when you add his 2005, 2011 and 2012 honors. With his repeat selection this year, Cronic now has four Regional honors to his name (2015-16, 2018-19).

Multiple Winners: Other multiple winners in the 2019 class are Buddy Teevens (second: 2015), Mark Hudspeth (third: 2003, 2006), Jim Clements (second: 2010), Todd Knight (third: 2014, 2018), Todd Hoffner (third: 2014, 2018) and Mark Henninger (second: 2018).

First Time Winners: Thirteen coaches earned their first AFCA Regional Coach of the Year Award in 2019: Monmouth’s Kevin Callahan, North Dakota State’s Matt Entz, Weber State’s Jay Hill, Central Missouri’s Jim Svoboda, Union’s (N.Y.) Jeff Behrman, Muhlenberg’s Nate Milne, Bridgewater’s (Va.) Michael Clark, Hope’s Peter Stuursma, Chapman’s Bob Owens, Keiser’s Doug Socha, Culver-Stockton’s Tom Sallay, Kansas Wesleyan’s Myers Hendrickson and Ottawa’s (Ariz.) Mike Nesbitt.

Most Awards: Mount Union’s Larry Kehres (1986, 1990, 1992-93, 1996-97, 1999-02, 2006-12) has the most district/regional honors in AFCA history, with 17. Penn State’s Joe Paterno (District 2: 1967-68, 1971-73, 1977-78, 1982; Region 1: 1985; Region 3: 1994, 2005) is second with 11 District/Regional Coach of the Year honors. Tied for third is Bloomsburg’s Danny Hale and Mary Hardin-Baylor’s Pete Fredenburg, each with 10 awards. Hale won his first three honors at West Chester and the rest at Bloomsburg (College Division I, Region 1 1986-88, 1994-95; Division II, Region 1, 2000-01, 2005-06, 2008). Fredenburg won his 10 in 2000, 2002, 2005, 2007, 2010, 2012-14, 2016 and 2018. Morningside’s Steve Ryan is in fifth place with his ninth Regional honor in 2019. Seven coaches have won the award seven times: Tubby Ray­mond, Delaware; Jim Butterfield, Ithaca; Bo Schem­bechler, Miami (Ohio), Michigan; Bob Devaney, Nebraska; Tom Osborne, Nebraska; Mel Tjeerdsma, Northwest Missouri State; and Carmen Cozza, Yale. Seven coaches have won Regional honors six times: Vince Dooley, Georgia; Brian Kelly, Grand Valley State, Cincinnati, Notre Dame; Roy Kidd, Eastern Kentucky; John McKay, USC; Jerry Moore, Appalachian State; Darrell Royal, Texas; and Mike Van Diest, Carroll (Mont.).

Most Winners by School: Mount Union-18 (Ken Wable-1, Larry Kehres-17); Nebraska-15 (Bob Devaney-7, Tom Osborne-7, Frank Solich-1); North Dakota State-14 (Darrell Mudra-1, Ron Erhardt-4, Jim Wacker-1, Don Morton-3, Earle Solo­monson-1, Craig Bohl-2, Klieman-1, Entz-1); Penn State-12 (Rip Engle-1, Joe Paterno-11); Alabama-11 (Bear Bryant-4, Bill Curry-1, Gene Stallings-2, Mike Shula-1, Nick Saban-3); Texas-11 (Darrell Royal-6, Fred Akers-2, David McWil­liams-1, Mack Brown-2); Mary Hardin-Baylor-10 (Pete Fredenburg-10); USC-10 (John McKay-6, John Robinson-2, Pete Carroll-2); Wittenberg-10 (Bill Edwards-3, Dave Maurer-4, Ron Murphy-1, Joe Fincham-2); Bloomsburg-9 (George Landis-1, Danny Hale-7, Paul Darragh-1); Ithaca-9 (Jim Butterfield-7, Mike Welch-2); Michi­gan-9 (Bump Elliott-2, Bo Schem­bechler-6, Lloyd Carr-1); Morningside-9 (Steve Ryan-9); New Hampshire-9 (Clarence Boston-1, Jim Root-1, Bill Bowes-3, Sean McDonnell-4); Arkansas-8 (Frank Broyles-4, Lou Holtz-1, Ken Hatfield-1, Houston Nutt-2); Dartmouth-8 (Bob Blackman-4, Jake Crouthamel-1, Joe Yukica-1, Buddy Teveens-2); Georgia-8 (Vince Dooley-6, Mark Richt-1, Kirby Smart-1); Lenoir-Rhyne-8 (Clarence Stasavich-2, Hanley Painter-2, John Perry-1, Charles Forbes-1, Drew Cronic-2); Northwest Missouri State-8 (Mel Tjeerdsma-7, Adam Dorrel-1); Ohio State-8 (Woody Hayes-4, Earle Bruce-1, John Cooper-3); Oklahoma-8 (Chuck Fairbanks-3, Barry Switzer-2, Bob Stoops-3); Texas A&M-Kingsville-8 (Gil Steinke-2, Ron Harms-5, Bo Atterberry-1); Yale-8 (Jordan Olivar-1, Carmen Cozza-7).

Two Consecutive Years, Two Schools: Mike Houston (The Citadel, 2015 & James Madison, 2016) joined seven other coaches who have earned AFCA Regional Coach of the Year honors at two schools in consecutive years: Fred Akers (Wyoming, 1976 & Texas 1977), Dennis Franchione (Pittsburg State, 1989 & Texas State, 1990), Jim McElwain (Colorado State, 2014 & Florida, 2015), Hal Mumme (Valdosta State, 1996 & Ken­tucky, 1997), Dick Sheridan (Furman, 1985 & North Carolina State, 1986), Kevin Sumlin (Houston, 2011 & Texas A&M, 2012) and Joe Tiller (Wyoming, 1996 & Purdue, 1997).

Most Schools: South Carolina’s Lou Holtz is the only coach to earn AFCA Regional Coach of the Year honors at four different schools. Holtz earned the honor at North Carolina State (1972), Arkansas (1979), Notre Dame (1988) and South Carolina (2000). Brian Kelly (Grand Valley State, Cincinnati, Notre Dame) became the seventh coach to win district or regional honors at three different schools in 2012. He joins Jerry Claiborne (Virginia Tech, Maryland, Kentucky), Darrell Mudra (North Dakota State, Western Illinois, Northern Iowa), Houston Nutt (Mississippi, Arkansas, Murray State), Mike Price (UTEP, Washington State, Weber State), Jim Sweeney (Montana State, Washington State, Fresno State) and Jim Wacker (North Dakota State, Texas State, TCU) on that list.

Consecutive Years: Mount Union’s Larry Kehres is the only coach to win district/regional honors in seven consecutive years, winning in Division III from 2006-12. Morningside’s Steve Ryan jumps to second with his sixth NAIA honor in a row in 2019. Jacksonville State’s John Grass, Northwest Missouri State’s Mel Tjeerdsma and Nebraska’s Bob Devaney are the only coaches to win district/regional honors in five consecutive years. Tjeerdsma earned the honor in Division II from 1996-2000. Devaney earned the honor in the AFCA’s old University Division (1962-66). Grass earned his five straight in FCS from 2014-18. Carroll’s Mike Van Diest, Trinity’s (Texas) Steve Mohr, North Dakota State’s Ron Erhardt and Kehres are the only men to win the award four years in a row. Van Diest earned the honor in NAIA from 2007-10, while Kehres won his four in a row from 1999-2002 in Division III. Erhardt earned district honors in the AFCA’s old College Division (1967-68-69-70) while Mohr earned the honor in Division III (1996-97-98-99). Fifteen coaches have earned district or regional honors three years in a row. Ithaca’s Jim Butterfield (1978-79-80 and 1984-85-86) earned the award in three consecutive years on two different occasions.