HELENA – The American Football Coaches Association announced their 2013 Regional Coaches of the Year today. Carroll College’s Mike Van Diest was named coach of the year for region five of the NAIA.
This is the fifth time Van Diest has been tabbed by his coaching fraternity as regional coach of the year.
The Fighting Saints head coach won the award in four consecutive years from 2007-2010.
"It's humbling to be recognized by your peers in the coaching profession, but it's more of a tribute to our coaching staff as a whole,” Van Diest said.
Van Diest, in his 15th season in Helena with Carroll College, led the Fighting Saints to a 12-2 record, a Frontier Conference Championship and an NAIA semifinal appearance.
"This award is deserved recognition for a fantastic season that Mike and his staff had, everyone at Carroll is proud of the team's accomplishments this season," Carroll College Athletic Director Bruce Parker said.
The AFCA recognizes five regional winners in each of the five divisions (FBS, FCS, DII, DIII and NAIA). Winners were selected by active members of the association who vote for coaches in their respective regions and divisions.
"I have a fantastic staff and it's a great honor for them to be recognized through my name, head coaches get way too much credit," Van Diest said.
During Van Diest’s remarkable run at Carroll College, his teams have won 13 Frontier Conference Championships, 6 NAIA National Titles and compiled a 176-28 record, with a .863 winning percentage.
"We are so lucky to have Mike Van Diest as our head football coach. He is a man of great integrity and his knowledge of the game is tremendous. His tenure at Carroll has produced amazing results, but most importantly he helps our student athletes become men," Parker added.
Earlier this season, offensive line and strength and conditioning coach Jim Hogan was named National Assistant Coach of the Year in the NAIA by the AFCA.
"This year with Jim Hogan winning the National NAIA assistant coach of the year and to be able to receive the regional coach of the year at the same venue together that is very special,” Van Diest said.
The AFCA will announce its five 2013 National Coach of the Year winners at the 2014 AFCA Convention in Indianapolis, Indiana. All head coaches who were eligible for regional honors are eligible for national honors as well.
By Troy Shockley, Helena IR
The Saints were playing for Rome. They fell just short. Plagued by key mistakes in key moments Saturday, Carroll College fell to the University of the Cumberlands 34-27 in an NAIA semifinal matchup at James H Taylor II Stadium in Williamsburg, Ky. It was the first playoff overtime game in Carroll’s long postseason history, and it ended the Saints’ 2013 season.
“It’s tough,” Carroll coach Mike Van Diest said. “It’s the last game of the year and you’re one step away from going to the championship game. You took the No. 1 team in the nation to overtime, on their field. This senior class has a lot to be proud of.”
Leading that senior class is quarterback Dakota Stonehouse, who finished his Carroll career going 13-of-27 for 197 yards and a touchdown. He was also sacked five times and hit as hard as he’s been all season, finishing with 19 yards rushing.
He ends his season with more than 2,600 passing yards and 27 touchdowns, bringing his career passing totals to just under 4,800 yards and 55 scores.
By Amber Kuehn, Helena IR
It’s unlikely very many athletes can credit their success on the football field to life on a dairy farm. But Mike Siegersma believes he may not be the player he is today if not for the values instilled in him through the family business.
“My dad taught me a sense of work ethic; he’s one of the hardest-working people I’ve ever met,” said Siegersma, a Carroll College senior who’s become a mainstay in the Saints secondary the past three seasons. “The way I was brought up is how I approach things in my life, including football. I learned you can do whatever you want, you just have to be willing to put in the time and energy and work.”
Siegersma has certainly done that in his time at Carroll. The receiver-turned-cornerback has earned every ounce of his success on the gridiron through endless hours of film study and weightlifting, always striving to improve. His accolades are a reflection of that, as Siegersma has twice been named first team All-Frontier Conference, once was NAIA National Player of the Week in 2011 and was recently a semifinalist for a National Football Foundation Scholar-Athlete Award.
Cumberlands 34, Carroll 27 in OT. Carroll played most of the game without All-American LB Sean Blomquist due to injury.
More details to come Sunday.
By Troy Shockley, Helena IR
In 1964, University of Houston coach Bill Yeoman revolutionized the game of football. His contribution: The veer.
The veer introduced the triple option — meaning, at the snap, the quarterback has three options depending on how the defense reacts. When run efficiently, the offense allows for incredible ball-control and can turn an average play into a home run if just one defensive player slips up.
While not as common now with the proliferation of the spread, there are teams that still use the veer and its variants — including University of the Cumberlands, which Saturday will take on Carroll College in the NAIA semifinals.
By Scott Mansch, Great Falls Tribune Sports Editor
The Carroll College Saints are heading for the Kentucky hills for the NAIA semifinals.
“We’ve been there before,” said Carroll head coach Mike Van Diest, whose team meets the University of the Cumberlands Saturday in Williamsburg, Ky. “We played at Georgetown (Ky.) twice in the semifinals (in 2000 and 2001), so this won’t be our first trip to Kentucky. They take their football serious out there, you bet.”
The third-ranked Saints, 12-1 following Saturday’s 27-3 trouncing of Missouri Valley in Helena, will be taking on the top-ranked team in the nation. The Cumberlands Patriots are 12-0 after defeating Saint Francis (Ind.) 28-14 in Saturday’s quarterfinals.
Missouri Valley’s defense dominated nearly every team it played this season.
It came into Saturday’s NAIA Football Championship Series quarterfinal matchup with Carroll College as the best scoring defense in the nation. It allowed the fewest offensive yards per game in the nation, and the lowest rushing-yard total in the nation.
After 60 minutes of playoff football, however, Carroll’s offense solved the Vikings’ D, advancing to next week’s NAIA semifinals with a 27-3 win. It was the most points scored on Missouri Valley all season.
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