MARYVILLE, Mo. – Northwest Missouri State University Director of Athletics, Mel Tjeerdsma, has been selected for induction into the College Football Hall of Fame by The National Football Foundation (NFF). Tjeerdsma is one of three coaches, along with 10 former players, in the 2018 class. The announcement was made by the NFF on ESPN’s SportsCenter on Monday morning.
“Being part of the 2018 class of the NFF College Football Hall of Fame is almost beyond my imagination,” said Tjeerdsma. “This honor is really made possible through the cumulative efforts of so many coaches and student athletes that have been a part of my career as well as the love and support of my family. I’m looking forward to this year and all of the events that go along with the award.”
Tjeerdsma started coaching football at Northwest in 1994 and led the team to 183 victories in 17 seasons. After retiring from coaching in 2010, he returned in April of 2013 as the Bearcats’ Director of Athletics.
As a coach, Tjeerdsma captured three NCAA Division II National Championships (1998, 1999, 2009) and won 12 MIAA conference titles. He is a four-time American Football Coaches Association Coach of the Year honoree and was named MIAA Coach of the Year 12 times. He was the 2009 Liberty Mutual Coach of the Year and has been inducted into the Division II Football Hall of Fame, the Missouri Sports Hall of Fame, the South Dakota Sports Hall of Fame and the Northwest Missouri State M-Club Hall of Fame. In 2009, he was awarded the FCA Grant Teaff Lifetime Achievement Award.
Tjeerdsma’s teams featured seven academic All-Americans in his last seven years as coach and he had two Ken B. Jones Award winners in his last five years, recognizing the top male student-athlete in the MIAA, as well as one National Scholar-Athlete of the Year. In 2011, Tjeerdsma coached Team USA to a world championship at the International Federation of American Football World Cup in Austria.
As Director of Athletics, Tjeerdsma has overseen three NCAA Division II football national championships (2013, 2015, 2016) and the school’s first men’s basketball national championship (2017). The Bearcats became the first NCAA Division II school to capture both the football and men’s basketball national championship in the same academic year.
Tjeerdsma earned his bachelor’s degree in physical education from Southern (S.D.) State College in 1967 and a master’s degree from Northwest in 1977. He and his wife, Carol, have three married daughters and eight grandchildren.
The College Football Hall of Fame was established in 1951. Candidates who meet Hall of Fame criteria are nominated and confirmed by the District Screening Committee (DSC). From there, the top vote getters are forwarded to the National Football Foundation staff to be included in the national ballot. The ballot of players and coaches is mailed to all dues-paying members of The National Football Foundation for a member vote.
— Northwest Athletics —