Northwestern College Football’s coach Matt McCarty received the highest honor an NAIA coach can receive, tabbing the American Football Coaches Association NAIA Coach of the Year award, announced Jan. 9. This award came following NW’s 35-25 National Championship win over Keiser University. The Raiders had an outstanding season, going 13-1 and winning 13 straight after their first-week loss to Morningside University.
Coach McCarty was already named the AFCA NAIA Region IV Coach of the Year after 6 straight at-large playoff berths. McCarty is approaching his 8th season with the Raiders and has a career record of 67-18 (.788) and a 52-11 (.825) conference record.
In his time at NW, McCarty served as the defensive coordinator for 11 years and assistant head coach for three. As head coach, he has made three NAIA FCS Semifinal appearances and two National Championship appearances. He has had eight players named GPAC Defensive Player of the Year, and two named Offensive Player of the Year.
“I want to instill in our players to always do their best. I want them to do what is right and to make a difference both on and off the field. I really enjoy coaching at NW with our staff because we do our best to meet our young men where they are spiritually, academically and athletically and then help them grow and become their best.”
“Coach is the leader of our team and everything that he has been recognized for, he has earned,” said starting quarterback Jalyn Gramstad.
He is a person that I look up to greatly and I am so proud and happy that I get to play for him.”
In his acceptance speech, McCarty spoke about his love for the team, saying, “I am blessed to work with an outstanding group of young men, who love to be around each other, who every single day pursue excellence in everything they do and I love to be around our players.”
This embodies one of the team’s mottos, which is to choose excellence and pursue excellence. Playing for the Raiders himself from 2000 to 2003, and being named an All-American in 2003, bringing home a National Championship title for the first time in 39 years and being named coach of the year for this program was something special he will not forget.