Northwest Missouri State head football coach Mel Tjeerdsma has been named Division II Coach of the Year by both the American Football Coaches’ Association and by FieldTurf in ceremonies this week. Liberty Mutual named Tjeerdsma coach of the year in a ceremony last week.
Tjeerdsma has been named AFCA Coach of the Year for the second consecutive season and for the fourth time in his 16 seasons at Northwest Missouri State. Tjeerdsma joins Bob Reade of Augustana College as the only four-time winners of the award. Only Larry Kehres of Mount Union (9) and Joe Paterno of Penn State (5) have won more. Tjeerdsma’s first two awards followed the 1998 and 1999 championship seasons.
FieldTurf and Howie Long presented Tjeerdsma with his second FieldTurf Coach of the Year award. The first came in 2007. The award is based on tabulated votes from Howie Long and FieldTurf executives, which includes a group of former NFL stars.
Tjeerdsma led the Bearcats to a 14-1 record and the program’s third national championship this past season. It was the fifth straight title game appearance for the Bearcats, who are 64-10 in the last five seasons.
The team was 0-11 in Tjeerdsma’s first season of 1994. The Bearcats are 171-30 since, winning 11 MIAA championships, making seven national title game appearances and brining home three titles. With 29 postseason wins, Tjeerdsma is the winningest postseason coach in Division II history. His team has won 37 consecutive conference games dating back to 2005.
Among his peers in Division II, Tjeerdsma is third on the active wins list (23) and with the seventh-best win percentage (.739). His 230 wins are the fourth-most in Division II history.
Tjeerdsma was 59-39-4 in 10 seasons at Austin College in Texas before arriving in Maryville where he is 171-41 in 16 seasons with the Bearcats.