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Inside the Headset with the AFCA

Feb 9, 2023

This week on Inside the Headset, we are featuring our Division II Coach of the Year discussion. The coaches recap this past season, reflect on key mentors in their life, and discuss the connections they have made through the AFCA.

The regional coach of the year winners for Division II are:

Region 1: Ernie McCook, Shepherd University

Ernie McCook recently completed his fifth season at the helm for the Rams after being named the head coach at Shepherd on January 24, 2018 after serving as an assistant at Shepherd for 18 years. McCook led Shepherd to a 13-2 record in the 2022 season. McCook led Shepherd to a 10-3 mark and an NCAA II playoff appearance in its first season of competition in the Pennsylvania State Athletic Conference (PSAC) in 2019. Prior to becoming head coach he served as offensive coordinator for nine years and was offensive line coach for 10 years for Shepherd from 1999-2008. McCook was elevated to assistant head coach in 2007. He spent the 2009 season as the run game coordinator/tight ends coach at Liberty University before returning to Shepherd the next season. McCook served as assistant head coach/offensive coordinator at Shepherd from 2010-17.

Region 2: Chennis Berry, Benedict College

Chennis Berry was named head football coach at Benedict College on February 11, 2020 and wrapped up an 11-1 season with a SIAC championship. Berry came to Benedict after serving as the Assistant Head Coach and Offensive Coordinator at Southern University. During his seven seasons with Southern, the Jaguars had a winning record every season, while the offense under his direction set numerous school and SWAC conference records. As part of the NFL’s Minority Internship Program, Berry has interned with six different NFL teams, including the Jacksonville Jaguars, Indianapolis Colts, Cleveland Browns, Detroit Lions, San Diego Chargers and Chicago Bears.

Region 3: Matt Mitchell, Grand Valley State University

Matt Mitchell was recently hired at Wisconsin on Jan. 23, 2023 as the coach of the outside linebackers and special teams units. Mitchell joined the UW staff after 13 years as the head coach at Grand Valley State. Coach Mitchell helped establish a winning culture during his time at Grand Valley State, with an impressive record of 117-31 (.790) over 12 seasons of action. He guided the Lakers to seven NCAA DII Playoff appearances, two NCAA DII National Semifinal appearances, three GLIAC Championships, three GLIAC North Division titles, and two undefeated regular seasons.

Region 4: Todd Knight, Ouachita Baptist University

Todd Knight has recently completed his 23rd season at Ouachita Baptist University and was named the 2023 AFCA president. Coach Knight is the longest-standing college head football coach in Arkansas. He has led the Tigers to 16 winning seasons, and is currently at the helm of 14 consecutive winning seasons, the longest current streak of any team in the state of Arkansas at any level. He has led the Tigers to six Great American Conference championships, five NCAA Division II playoff appearances, and four undefeated regular seasons.

Region 5: Brandon Moore, Colorado School of Mines

Brandon Moore was named the head coach of Mines Football on Jan. 31, 2022 after spending six years on staff building the Oredigger defense into one of the nation’s top units. Moore’s first year as head coach was historic as the Orediggers made their first-ever appearance in the NCAA Division II Championship Game. Mines won 13 consecutive games between September and December to get there, winning the program’s second consecutive NCAA Super Region IV title and fourth consecutive RMAC championship along the way. Going 13-3, the Orediggers set a program record for wins and they completed just the third undefeated RMAC season (9-0) in the modern era. Coach Moore was named the NFFCC Colorado and RMAC Coach of the Year due to his success.

Show Notes:

1:45 Recap of their seasons

16:10 Impact of coaching community

20:30 Influential individuals in your life

31:00 Getting involved in the AFCA

37:00 Conclusion