Thursday, April 3, 2014

Grinnell Student Featured on MSNBC

Grinnell senior Ope Awe was featured on MSNBC's Women of 2014 Series.  Read the article about Ope on Grinnell College's home page, but also read about her on the MSNBC page.  Besides her role in the Student Government Association at Grinnell, Ope also started a student group called Enthusiasm to help support the varsity athletic teams.  Thanks for all your efforts Ope and congratulations on getting such national recognition!  You deserve it!

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Lyle Bauman

The Grinnell College Pioneer football team would like to extend a large thank you to the entire Bauman family.  It has been a tough winter for the Bauman's, with the passing of two great people.  Today, Tuesday March 18th, we lost long-time College employee Lyle Bauman.  Everybody who met Lyle, whether student/staff/faculty/parent/visitor/etc immediately made a friend, and somebody that would lend a hand at a moment's notice, no questions asked.  There are no words to express our gratitude for the impact Lyle had on those around him, and no words to express the loss our community has suffered.  We thank you Lyle, and we thank the Bauman family, and we hope for peace for all of you.

This past December the Pioneers awarded the first annual Lyle Bauman Service Award to Seth Gustafson '14.  We are proud of Seth for his growth on and off the field, and grateful for what he gave to the team and to the campus, but it will be hard for Seth, and for the future recipients of the award, to live up to the example set by Lyle.  What a great man for all Pioneers to model themselves after.

Thank you one final time Lyle, for everything.

The Pioneers

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Words of Wisdom From an All-Time Great

Besides Michael Sam, the biggest NFL related story of the off-season has been the Richie Incognito-Jonathan Martin story.  I have not read the Well's Report and will not weigh in on who was right or wrong in the situation.  I was not there and I don't have nearly enough information.  What I will say is this, there is no place for bullying in our society.  Whether it's in the classroom, the locker room, or the workplace, it is a destructive force that can do a lifetime of damage.

As part of coaching staffs of more than one sport at Grinnell College I understand that we must operate under the guidelines of our department and our school.  We must also operate within the rules and guidelines of the NCAA.  One thing that has been made clear is that there is no room for hazing rituals or bullying within intercollegiate athletics.  I don't believe Grinnell ever had severe hazing rituals before I was here, and I thought the environment was healthy while I played here.  That being said, I have been very clear of my expectations for our team, and to my knowledge this type of behavior is not a problem.

When the Incognito-Martin story broke I was struck by some of the reactions in the media.  The reactions were understandably varied, given the lack of information.  The thing I have a hard time with is some major media outlets coming down so hard on hazing and bullying in high schools and colleges while regularly promoting it each NFL pre-season.  I understand there are many differences, from the age and maturity of the participants, to the amount of money NFL players are paid, but I still believe we should be sending a consistent message about hazing and bullying.

In that light, I've come across an outstanding article by former NFL offensive lineman and current ESPN analyst, Mark Schlereth.  I may be biased because I enjoyed watching him help clear the way for Terrel Davis and back to back Super Bowl wins for the Denver Broncos, but I believe Schlereth is on point with his take.

Please read and enjoy.  I know the 2014 Pioneers will be reading this during our pre-season meetings this fall.

Sunday, February 9, 2014

Michael Sam and Openly Gay Football Players

As I got to my office tonight to make my Sunday night recruiting calls, I started by logging into my email and Twitter, as always, just to get caught up and to make a plan for the evening. Tonight, the talk on Twitter has caused me to change my plans.

Many of you have seen by now, or will see by the morning, that Michael Sam, the all-american and SEC defensive player of the year from Missouri has announced that he is gay.  The announcement comes weeks prior to the NFL combine and about two months before the draft.  Many have given their thoughts about whether this will or won't effect his draft status, but that is not of much concern to me.  Sam's announcement does bring up an important discussion, and one that is happening with much greater frequency.

This is an issue that has come to light several times recently.  In mid-January, NFL Films released a special about Jerry Smith, the late tight end that played for the Washington Redskins from the mid-60's through the late '70's.  Smith had played his entire career without coming out to his teammates, or to anyone in the NFL.  Also in late January, Conner Mertens, a member of the Willammette College football team came out publicly as bisexual.  One article I read quotes as saying Mertens is the first college football player to come out publicly while still playing.

Here at Grinnell we are part of an accepting environment.  Our College tries to foster an environment where students, faculty and staff all learn from each other, and often times just as much is learned outside the classroom as in it.  We have tried to create an environment full of diversity of all kinds, and this most certainly includes a diversity of sexual orientations.  With students from across the globe we obviously have students with a wide variety of beliefs entering Grinnell.  Just as with any issue, we do not have 100% agreement, but we don't side-step difficult issues, we tackle them head on in a respectful manner.  As members of other student-groups on campus, football players have helped bring in renowned speakers to address sexism and harassment of women in athletics (Katie Hnida, former Colorado Buffalo and New Mexico University) and to address what it's like to be a gay football player (Esera Tuaolo, former NFL player who came out after retiring from the sport).  Both talks were well attended across campus, but I believe they had a profound affect within our team.  

I guess what I'm trying to say in all of this is that I commend both Michael Sam and Conner Mertens in their announcements, and I wish for Smith that he had lived at a time when he could have been more comfortable with who he was, but none of these guys are unique.  They're not outliers.  I have been associated with Grinnell College Football since 1998, and I have not played with or coached an openly gay player (I have been told there was at least one in the mid-90's).  However, I'm sure I played alongside more than one gay teammate during my time.  I'm also sure that I have coached, and am currently coaching, student-athletes who are gay (as an assistant coach for the track and field team, I know I am coaching several openly gay student-athletes).  I don't expect that a gay student-athlete would have to come out to me, just as I don't expect that a straight student-athlete would have to tell me who he is dating.  But I certainly hope he would feel comfortable in telling me if he wanted to, just as I know a straight student-athlete would.  I hope that I have the trust of my players, and that they trust their teammates enough, that it wouldn't be a big deal.  I hope that coming out to me wouldn't feel like a confession or an admission, that would have potential ramifications, but rather that it would just come up as part of everyday conversation.  We pride ourselves in fielding a team of 50 different guys with 50 different stories, and this would just be one more story.  

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Former Pioneer Gets His Big Break

Former linebacker Marquis Bradley '11 may have gotten his big break during the Super Bowl last Sunday.

Bradley, who was a two-time all-conference linebacker, spent one season coaching for the Pioneers.  He has since moved back to his hometown of Wichita, KS, where he has started a personal training business L.I.T.E. 180, as well as a motivational speaking company Spotlight Motivation.

Marquis has many pursuits, but this past weekend he added one more, acting.  Bradley was featured in MindFire Academy's commercial that aired regionally during the Super Bowl.  MindFire Academy is a digital audio and video company specializing in 3D animation, game design, and motion-capture technology.

I'm not sure if Marquis has a future in acting, you be the judge:

Friday, January 31, 2014

Seth Gustafson Featured in Prominent Educational Journal

Senior defensive back and captain Seth Gustafson recently completed a successful football career in which he started for all four years and recorded five interceptions and 15 passes defended.  Those numbers likely would have been higher, but as our best cover corner teams rarely challenged him. 

Not only was Seth successful on the field, but he's been tremendous in the classroom as well.  This past fall was Seth's third in a row with a 4.0 gpa while majoring in Psychology.  He's in line to be named academic all-conference for the third year in a row (at the time, football players were not eligible for the award as first-years).  During the summer before his senior year, Seth completed a Mentored Advanced Project (MAP) with one of his advisors, and the summer before that he worked at Rosecrance, a non-profit mental health facility in his hometown of Rockford, IL.  Because of his work at Rosecrance, Seth was recently featured in the Undergraduate Journal of Service Learning and Community-Based Research

Nice work Seth!

Thursday, January 23, 2014

Liberal Arts and Your Future

As we are finishing up January and approaching February, our senior Pioneers are likely getting anxious about what comes next.  Some already have plans in place, some only vague ideas, but all are likely feeling some anxiety about the future.

Likewise, the guys we're recruiting, the seniors in high school, are probably experiencing some of the same things.  They've all been getting recruited heavily by us, and schools like us, but many are also being recruited by larger state schools of all levels.  They're about to make a decision that will have an incredible impact on their future.

The good news is, no matter what you studied or are interested in studying, and no matter what the state of the current economy, you are better off being at Grinnell College than anywhere else!  For years we've stressed that the tools you develop from your first day at Grinnell will prepare you for any endeavor, and that they will give you a better chance for success than your peers.  Couple the world class liberal arts education with your experiences as a member of the Pioneer Football team, and you've set yourself up for big things!

Recently there have been several articles highlighting these very advantages.  For all anxious seniors, whether in high school or college, these articles should remind you of the advantages of Grinnell, and help put your mind at ease. 


First is a quick news story that was played on NPR and other national media outlets: Who Says Liberal Arts Majors Can't Make a Good Living?

Following up on this is a more in depth piece from Inside Higher Ed: Liberal Arts Grads Win Long Term.

And finally, if you're wondering where Grinnell fits in all of this, it's great to know the teaching at Grinnell is so well respected: Best Undergraduate Teaching.

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Wigs for Kids

It happens every fall, thousands of college seniors play their final football game and realize their playing careers are over.  They all react differently, but often times their are some significant changes in body type, some let themselves go a little, but many decide it's time to cut some of the weight they've worked so hard to gain. 

One senior on this year's team, linebacker Colton Feller, decided to make a similar change, and to cut some of what he's gained over the past four years.  A Clay Mathews clone at inside linebacker for the past four years, Colton cut his hair over the winter break, donating 15 inches (!!) to Wigs for Kids. 

Great call Colton, thanks for the donation!

Sunday, January 12, 2014

Happy Birthday Frances Belle!

Opening presents from Grandma Lisa and Grandpa and Grandma P.
On a cloudy Friday night in January 2009, with snow on the way, my nine-months pregnant wife and I decided to go out to the movies.  We watched a true tear-jerker, Marley and Me.  The movie was nice, but we were out late and I was looking forward to sleeping in the next morning.

It was not to be.

Jordan woke me up with an aggressive shake around 6:00 AM the next morning.  "I think I'm having contractions," she said.  I asked what I needed to do, and we agreed that this was just the beginning of a long process, so some more rest would be a good idea.  A short hour later and I was being shaken again.  Time to get up.

I rolled downstairs to find that the snow had arrived, about six inches worth, and still falling.  I dug us out and we loaded the car for Des Moines.  The roads weren't the best, but we made the slow trip in about two hours. 
It took plenty of shoveling to get out that morning
The contractions were still mild (if there is such a thing) and far apart, so we spent a quiet afternoon at a co-workers house.  We finally went to Methodist Hospital later in the evening.  Jordan labored throughout the night, and around 3:00 AM January 11th, our baby girl was born.  Frances Belle Pedersen, a whopping 9 pounds and 3 ounces, took her time coming out but has been in a hurry ever since. 
Taking a well-deserved nap
As first-time parents, neither Jordan nor I slept well in the hospital that night.  When we did wake up we realized that the temperature had bottomed out after the snow.  With a temperature around -10 degrees, we decided an extra day in the hospital would be nice.  I spent that first night with a swaddled baby girl in my lap, watching Louisville vs Notre Dame (Louisville won in OT), and telling her everything I knew about basketball.  It was the first of many lessons that she didn't appear to be listening to, but that hopefully sank in somehow. 
Proud Parents

Thursday, January 9, 2014

Meixler's 203 Receiving Yards in One Game is 5th All-Time at Grinnell

During the Pioneers 24-21 victory over the Lawrence Vikings, Jake Meixler caught ten passes for 203 yards and a touchdown.  His 203 receiving yards were good for fifth-most in a single game in Pioneer Football history.

Knocked off the top-5 list was David Snider '99, who recorded 196 yards receiving 9-25-98 against Lake Forest.  Snider should not feel bad, as he still has the third best single-game total (210 yards vs St. Norbert 10-24-98) and the best single-game total of 225 yards against Knox College the very next week.  Richard Wemer '98 rounds out the top five at number two, with 218 yards 9-20-97 against Beloit College.  Also knocking on the door of the top five was Logan Granera '12, who had 195 yards 9-18-10 against Ripon College. 

The entire list of Pioneer Football records can be seen here.  Be sure to check back regularly this winter, as the list will continually be updated with video.

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

The Twelfth Day of Pioneer Football

On the twelfth day of Pioneer Football, my Pioneers gave to me: twelve graduating seniors.  In numerical order they are: #4 Harnak Mann (WR), #8 TJ Goetz (QB), #18 Seth Howard (LB), #20 Max Keller (DB), #21 Kevin Hwang (DB), #25 Seth Gustafson (DB), #32 Andrew Clark (DB), #45 Colton Feller (LB), #62 Morgan Kinsinger, #66 Hart Russell (DL), #70 Quinn Rosenthal (OL), and #80 Jayson Campos (WR).  Also included is manager and filmer Steph Haines, every bit as important to our team as any of the players.  Not included is #54 Jeremy Wiles (LB), who will hopefully be returning for one more year.

Thank you to this entire group for their contributions over the past four years.  This is the first group that has played exclusively for Coach Pedersen, and they have been instrumental in the Pioneers successes on the field and off.  They have helped the program to an upset over a nationally ranked team, as well as a four-win increase from one season to the next.  They've helped lay the foundation for the successes to come.  One again, thank you!

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

The Sixth and Seventh Days of Pioneer Football

On the sixth day of Pioneer Football my Pioneers gave to me: six great assistant coaches.  In order of longest tenure, they are: Tim Hollibaugh (head baseball coach, assistant head football and defensive line coach), Jason Martinez (defensive coordinator and linebackers coach), Nate Smith (kickers and linebackers coach), Nick Plato (special teams coordinator and quarterbacks/receivers coach), Darien Bell (running backs coach), and Tom Brinkman '13 (defensive backs coach).  There's not a finer staff in the conference.

On the seventh day we recognize Jacob Bernholtz '17 and his seven rushing touchdowns.  That total is the most in a single season for a Pioneer since Sean Pfalzer in 2006.  Bernholtz recorded two rushing touchdowns against both Ripon College and Beloit College, and was named Midwest Conference Offensive Player of the Week after the victory over Beloit.  Bernholtz capped his season by being named the Pioneers Offensive Rookie of the Year.

Sunday, December 22, 2013


Colton Feller, Kevin Hwang, and Morgan Kinsinger all played major roles in the victory
Behind the contributions of many former Midwest Conference all-stars, the team from USA won the Tazon de Estrellas 29-7

Quarterbacks Luke Barthelmess (Lawrence University) and Juan Flores (Cornell College) both led scoring drives, and the defense was almost entirely Midwest conference players.  Morgan Kinsinger played the majority of the game at left tackle, helping the United States to over 450 yards of total offense, 6.3 yards per carry rushing, and a thirteen minute advantage in time of possession.

Defensively, Kevin Hwang and Colton Feller each recorded two tackles.  Hwang stopped one Mexico drive with an interception in the end zone.

Friday, December 20, 2013

The Fourth and Fifth Day of Pioneer Football

Andrew Clark intercepts a Cornell College pass.
Clark's coaches and teammates celebrate his record-tying interception.
 On the fourth day of Pioneer Football my Pioneers gave to me: four interceptions in one game.  Facing defending co-champion Lake Forest, the Pioneer defense rose to the occasion, intercepting four passes, consistently thwarting the Foresters scoring attempts.  Andrew Clark, Seth Gustafson, Kevin Hwang, and Colton Feller all recorded interceptions on the day, with Clark's setting up the lone Pioneer touchdown.

On the fifth day of Pioneer Football, we once again recognize Kevin Hwang and Andrew Clark, who tied for the Midwest Conference lead with five interceptions each.  For Clark, his fifth interception of the season, in the finale against Cornell College, tied the Grinnell College career record.  Clark and Matt Johnston (1997-2000) both recorded 14 career interceptions.

New Link for Tazon de Estrellas Broadcast

Feller, Kinsinger, and Hwang with three players from Mexico's roster.
Here is a new link to watch the live broadcast of the Tazon de Estrellas.  The game will kick off at 1:00 pm Central.  Tune in to support Pioneers Colton Feller, Kevin Hwang, and Morgan Kinsinger, as well as Team USA.

Thursday, December 19, 2013

12 Days of Pioneer Football - the Third Day

On the third day of football my Pioneers gave to me: three players participating in post-season all-star games.  

Left tackle Morgan Kinsinger played the entire game for the South All-Stars in the D3 Senior Bowl in Salem Virginia last Friday night.  Kinsinger's South squad lost 10-7, but missed two field goal tries.  Morgan capped off a great career by being named Most Valuable Offensive Linemen for the third time, winning the Abe Rosenbloom Most Outstanding Offensive or Defensive Lineman, being named 2nd team All-Conference, and being invited to the D3 Senior Bowl as well as the Tazon de Estrellas.

Linebacker Colton Feller will also lace up the pads one more time at the Tazon de Estrellas.  Feller started 37 of 40 games in his career, and served as a captain his senior year.

Kevin Hwang was also named All-Conference after his senior year.  He has been moved from cornerback to outside linebacker to safety, where he was the most productive.  Hwang finished the year tied for first in the conference in interceptions and tied for sixth in tackles. 

The Tazon de Estrellas will kick off Saturday, December 21 at 1:00 pm central time, and can be viewed at:

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

12 Days of Pioneer Football - the Second Day

On the second day of football my Pioneers gave to me: two non-offensive touchdowns and a Cliff Harris Award finalist.

The Pioneers hosted their first home game of the season Saturday, September 28th against Beloit College.  Looking for their first win of the season, and starting a backup quarterback in rainy conditions, the Pioneers needed an early spark to gain some momentum.  That's exactly what they got from Junior linebacker Rich Renteria.  Renteria came off the edge for a huge sack/forced fumble that was recovered in the end zone by junior defensive end Clayton Desjardin for a 7-0 lead.

Later in the second quarter, sophomore safety Jacob Beecher broke through the punt protection to pressure and sack Buccaneer punter.  The ball squirted away and was recovered by first year Jacob Bernholtz for one of his three touchdowns on the day, and a 14-0 lead. 

The Pioneer offense got rolling soon after, and the team earned it's biggest victory of the season, 42-17.

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Pioneers Help Stock the Local Food Pantry

Captains Seth Gustafson and David Ternes do some grocery shopping.

Each year the Pioneer Football team uses the proceeds from t-shirt sales to give back to a worthy group.  This year they've decided to help stock the local food pantry for the upcoming holiday season.  The local food pantry is run by MICA (Mid-Iowa Community Action).  MICA has been in operation for over 40 years, with a mission of "Helping People.  Changing Lives.  Building Communities."  For information on how you can get involved, visit MICA's website.  

Monday, December 16, 2013

12 Days of Pioneer Football

In honor of the holiday season, we will be presenting the 12 Days of Pioneer Football video series.  Since it's already the 16th, check back often, as we'll be posting two videos a day for the first part of the week.

Day One highlights David Ternes, a Cliff Harris Award finalist.  David capped a second-consecutive strong campaign by being named All-Midwest Conference for the second year in a row, Midwest Conference Defensive Player of the Week (Nov. 2),  the Most Outstanding Defensive Line/Inside Linebacker for the second year in a row, and the Dick Ullrich '33 Most Outstanding Offensive or Defensive Back.  Ternes was also re-elected as a team captain, a position he's held since last December. 

Thursday, December 12, 2013

Morgan Kinsinger set to Play in D3 Senior Classic

Kinsinger pins a Carroll defender inside.
 Stalwart left tackle Morgan Kinsinger will play in the first of two post-season all-star games Friday, December 13.  The game is scheduled for a 6:00 PM Central kickoff, and can be viewed here

Kinsinger is only the second Pioneer to be selected for the D3 Senior Classic, receiver Rob Seer was the other in 2011.  Morgan is also slated to play in the Tazon de Estrellas in Mexico, joined by teammates Colton Feller and Kevin Hwang.  A link to view the Tazon de Estrellas will be released soon.