An end-of-the-season meeting began with a surprise for the Red Raider football team this past fall. Northwestern athletic director Earl Woudstra announced he had received two resignations: one from head coach Kyle Achterhoff and the other from offensive coordinator Tyler Knobloch.
This surprise left many blank faces and some players even shed tears. Achterhoff’s impact on the team was felt throughout the gym.
Although Knobloch was not in attendance, Achterhoff was. As soon as the meeting ended, Achterhoff hugged his players as they exited the gymnasium, sharing his final well wishes and goodbyes.
Winter break was approaching and the team was without a head coach.
Before winter break arrived, the Bultman Center hosted the announcement of new head coach Matt McCarty. He put on his suit and addressed the crowd.
“Being head coach was something I had hoped for down the road,” McCarty said. “I love NW and what the college is about. This is an outstanding place. To be head coach where I played and have coached the past 11 years is pretty amazing. My coaches at NW were very influential in my life and to be in that role now is humbling.”
McCarty has already begun to shake things up. Holding his players accountable for their responsibilities and pushing them to be great every day both in and outside of the classroom. His plans for them are not too demanding, but require trust and accountability.
“We have been extremely successful over the years,” McCarty said. “Not many programs can match our level of consistent success on the field. Our focus has been on being our best each and every day, pursuing excellence in all we do each day. Our goal is to go from good to great and never settle for less than our best in all we do.”
At the start of this spring semester, McCarty announced further additions to the coaching staff. NW welcomed Billy Kirch as his assistant defensive coordinator.
“The Red Raider defense will be made up of tough, physical, hard-hitting football players,” Kirch said. “We will maximize the gifts that the Lord has given us, as well as being a man of integrity and character. From our administration, down to our players, and everyone in between; I have the opportunity every day here at NW to be around people with tremendous faith and character.”
The team welcomed Josh Davis as offensive coordinator. Davis was previously the co-special teams coordinator and coach of the wide receivers for South Dakota State University Jackrabbits, where he and Kirch played together as teammates. Davis has been named the offensive coordinator of the Red Raider football team.
“Our team is filled with athletic potential and every student athlete I have visited with is eager to learn and work hard,” Davis said. “It has been a huge blessing to build these relationships with the offensive players and recognize how hungry they are to be great.”