|Northwestern College Athletic Director Barry Brandt announced today that Kyle Achterhoff has been hired as the new head football coach. He was chosen from a pool of approximately 100 applicants from across the country. Achterhoff becomes just the third head coach since 1967, following Larry Korver and Orv Otten.
Achterhoff, a 1990 Northwestern College graduate, has been with the Red Raider football program for the last 11 years as either the offensive or defensive coordinator. During his tenure, he helped guide Northwestern to an 83-35 record and three national playoff appearances. As the Raiders’ defensive coordinator from 1998-2000, Achterhoff coached five defensive All-Americans. In 1998, he led a Northwestern defense that ranked eighth in the NAIA in total defense, giving up 272 yards per game. In 2000, he was in charge of a defense that helped lead the Raiders to the Final Four.
As offensive coordinator, a role he has held for the past eight seasons, Achterhoff has been in charge of an offense that has been one of the nation’s best. In 2003, he guided a Raider offense that led the Great Plains Athletic Conference in scoring and ranked 10th in the nation at 35.8 points per game. In 2005, the Raiders ranked 10th in the NAIA in scoring with 32.5 points; the 2006 offense ranked fifth in the nation, scoring just under 37 points per game. In 2003 and 2006, Northwestern reached the quarterfinal round of the NAIA football championship series. Achterhoff has coached eight All-Americans during his time as offensive coordinator.
“I am very excited to lead the Red Raider football program and to continue the tradition started by my coach, Larry Korver, a tradition of excellence that continued through the tenure of Orv Otten,” comments Achterhoff. “Our ultimate goal in the Red Raider football program is to develop champions on and off the field—to help young men develop into great husbands, fathers and members of society. We want to develop men of integrity and at the same time be the best football team that we can possibly be.”
Before his coaching tenure began at Northwestern, Achterhoff served as the defensive coordinator and the secondary coach for two years at Dakota State (S.D.). His unit led the SDIC conference in sacks in 1997, and he coached four all-conference players that year. Achterhoff was also the strength and conditioning coordinator while at Dakota State.
Prior to Dakota State, Achterhoff was the defensive secondary coach at Northwest Missouri State, where he was part of the biggest turn-around in school history, taking over a program that went 0-11 in 1994 and helping lead them to a 6-5 record in 1995.
“I am very pleased to be able to offer Kyle Achterhoff the opportunity to lead our football program,” says Northwestern Athletic Director Barry Brandt. “Kyle is a great fit. He deeply loves Northwestern College and the mission of this institution. He has had the opportunity to play under and coach with two of the most successful coaches in Northwestern football history in Larry Korver and Mel Tjeerdsma (now head coach at Northwest Missouri State). He is truly a Red Raider through and through. I am confident our players and coaching staff will thrive under his leadership and Northwestern College will display excellence in every aspect of our football program.”
Achterhoff will begin his duties as head coach immediately. He and the rest of the football coaching staff have already signed 25 recruits for next season.
“After an extensive nationwide search I am extremely pleased Kyle Achterhoff has emerged as the best person to serve as the head football coach of our tradition-rich football program,” says Northwestern President Greg Christy. “Kyle exemplifies the type of person we were looking for to lead our football program. He is a person of genuine faith who is devoted to our mission as a distinctively Christian liberal arts college. Kyle is committed to leading a first-class football program that will represent the best of Northwestern College and provide our student-athletes with opportunities to grow and excel academically, spiritually, socially and athletically. I look forward to the leadership he and his staff will bring to the Red Raider football program.'”
Achterhoff and his wife, Amy, have two children: Sarah and Ethan. Amy is an elementary school teacher at Kinsey Elementary in Sioux Center.
Northwestern finished the 2008 season with a 7-3 record and ranked 18th in the final NAIA ranking.