Cimpl earns AFCA regional coaching honors
Thursday, December 12, 2013
MITCHELL, S.D. – Earlier this fall, Dakota Wesleyan University football coach Ross Cimpl was honored by the Great Plains Athletic Conference as the league’s coach of the year after guiding the Tigers to one of the top three seasons in school history.
Cimpl earned the second coaching honor of his career Tuesday when it was announced that the second-year head coach was named the American Football Coaches Association (AFCA) NAIA Region 4 Coach-of-the-Year. Cimpl, a Wagner, S.D., native, is one of five head coaches from around the NAIA to earn the honor. He is joined by Lindsey Wilson’s Chris Oliver, Grand View’s Mike Woodley, Benedictine’s Larry Wilcox and Carroll’s Mike Van Diest.
Other coaches honored include the University of Minnesota’s Jerry Kill in the Football Bowl Subdivision category, as well as North Dakota State University’s Craig Bohl in the Football Championship Subdivision category.
Cimpl’s honor marks the first time in DWU football history a Tiger coach has been recognized by the AFCA. The honor comes on the heels of one of the best seasons in Tiger football history. Cimpl, who is 14-7 in his first two seasons at the helm at Dakota Wesleyan, guided the 2013 squad to an 8-3 overall record. This marked just the third time in school history the football team has won eight or more games in a season. The last time was in 1992 when the team went 10-1, and the only other time was in 1976.
Cimpl, who served as DWU’s defensive coordinator before taking over as head coach in January 2012, coached five GPAC players-of-the-week in 2013. He helped the team set school records for points (329) and total offense (4,547) in a season, and he also watched as one individual game, season and career record fell this season. Francois Barnaud set the school record for rushing in a season (1,893) and Anthony Muilenburg set the record for receiving yards in a game (251) and receptions in a career (225).
The Tigers won seven of their last eight games, with their only loss coming to top-ranked Morningside, and finished the year ranked 20th in the NAIA. Fourteen DWU athletes earned All-GPAC honors at 15 different positions, and sophomore linebacker Brady Bonte was one of eight underclassmen nominated for a national defensive player-of-the-year award. DWU’s signature win this season was an upset of 20th-ranked Doane College in Crete, Neb.
Cimpl and the other regional winners will be recognized at the AFCA Coach of the Year Dinner at the 2014 AFCA Convention Tuesday, Jan. 14, in Indianapolis, Ind. He, along with the other four NAIA regional winners, are now up for the AFCA Coach of the Year honor, which will be announced that night.