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Inside the Headset with the AFCA

Feb 2, 2023

This week on Inside the Headset, we are featuring our Division III Coach of the Year discussion. The coaches discuss some highlights of their program this past season and some key mentors in their life that have helped push them to their success.

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

Region 1: Mike Toerper, Ithaca College

Michael Toerper (Ter-per) was named as the 11th head coach of the Ithaca College football program on February 18, 2022.
In his first season as head coach in 2022, Toerper guided the Bombers to 12-1 and reached the NCAA Division III Quarterfinals. IC secured its first undefeated regular season since 1986 and claimed its first outright Liberty League title. Toerper was also named as the Liberty League Coaching Staff of the Year. Toerper served as the defensive coordinator for the Bombers from 2017-19. He then departed to become the safeties coach at Division I Holy Cross for the past two seasons and contributed to turning that Crusaders defense into one of the top units in the Football Championship Subdivision (FCS) in 2021.

Region 2: Ryan Larsen, Carnegie Mellon University

Ryan Larsen, a 13-year coaching veteran, comes to Carnegie Mellon from Columbia University, where he served as quarterbacks coach and passing game coordinator. Larsen, who has achieved offensive success at every one of his coaching experiences, has also worked at Stevenson University, Rhodes College, Wabash College and Indiana University. He led Carnegie Mellon to an 11-1 record and 8-0 record in conference in the 2022 season.

Region 3: Larry Harmon, University of Mary Hardin-Baylor

Larry Harmon was promoted to Head Football Coach in January 2022 after spending the previous 20 seasons as the Cru’s defensive coordinator. Harmon guided the Cru to a 12-2 record in his first season at the helm as the Crusaders finished in the NCAA Division III Semifinals for the fifth time in program history. In addition to his defensive coordinator duties, Coach Harmon also worked with UMHB’s kick return and kick coverage teams. He opened his career at UMHB in 1999, spending three years as UMHB’s secondary coach.

Region 4: Jason Couch, Alma College

Jason Couch was a decorated player at Alma and was named the head football coach at Alma College in January 2018. Couch is the 30th head coach in the history of the program, which dates back to 1894. Couch led Alma to an 11-1 record, undefeated in conference play and a playoff berth. Coach Couch helped lead Alma to the second round, which would be a first in program history.

Region 5: Steve Johnson, Bethel University (Minn.)

Steve Johnson completed his 34th year as the head football coach at Bethel University in 2022. Under Johnson’s leadership, Bethel’s football program has risen to national prominence and has become a perennial contender for the MIAC championship. He has amassed 244 career wins and a .693 winning percentage and is the all-time wins leader among active NCAA Division III coaches. He also ranks 35th all-time in win among all divisions and is a six-time MIAC Coach of the Year. He has completed 28 consecutive non-losing seasons and accumulated a 100-36 (.735) overall record since 2010, including 73-23 (.760) in MIAC play.