Gopher Sport presents MCAC Fall Sport Coach-of-the-Year Honors

Gopher Sport presents MCAC Fall Sport Coach-of-the-Year Honors
As the fall sports season across the Minnesota College Athletic Conference conclude, Gopher Sport, the Minnesota-based industry leader in Physical Education, sports and fitness equipment, would like to recognize those professionals who were voted Coach-of-the-Year in their respective sports by their peers. 

The Minnesota College Athletic Conference and the NJCAA Region XIII recognizes several Coach-of-the-Year honorees from fall sports, including volleyball, men's & women's soccer, football and golf.  


Jane Peterson


Northern Division 

To say that Central Lakes College volleyball Head Coach Jane Peterson had a good year as leader of her Raider squad would be an understatement. 

Peterson - in her 29th year at Central Lakes - led CLC to a fourth-place finish in the 2018 NJCAA Division III Volleyball National Championships.  Her team was in the top five of each NJCAA weekly poll and held down the #1 spot for several of those weeks.  

With Peterson at the helm, Central Lakes finished 27-6 overall and were 12-0 in MCAC Northern Division play. 




Fourth Place, NJCAA Division III National Championships. 

Unbeaten MCAC Northern Division Regular Season Champions, 12-0. 

Five-time No. 1 Weekly Ranking in NJCAA volleyball. 

NJCAA Region XIIIB Champions

With the '18 tournament bid, CLC has earned 15 trips to the NJCAA Division III Championships, most of any MCAC program. 

Peterson is fourth in the active, NJCAA Volleyball All-Time Wins Category with 661 wins. 


       Amber Zitzow      


Southern Division



Amber Zitzow  led her Rochester Community & Technical College volleyball team to an unbeaten Southern Division title, going 12-0 in Conference play and an impressive 24-9 mark.  Zitzow - in her 7th year at RCTC -  was tabbed as MCAC Southern Division women's basketball Coach-of-the-Year by her peers in the process.

The Yellowjacket 2018 run mirrored the 2015 RCTC campaign, in which Rochester were the 2015 NJCAA Division III National Champions, Region XIIIA Champions, unbeaten MCAC Southern Division title-holders with a 14-0 record, andwere  finalists for the 2015 Rochester Area Sports Commission Team-of-the-Year. 



Third Place, NJCAA Division III National Championships 

Unbeaten MCAC Southern Division Regular Season Champions, 12-0. 

Fixture in the Top Five Weekly Ranking in NJCAA volleyball

NJCAA Region XIIIA Champions

With the '18 tournament bid, RCTC earned the right to compete on their home court, with the NJCAA Division III National Championships hosted in Rochester.  

Zitzow is 155-67 overall at RCTC




Brady Eichhorn-Hicks

Men's Soccer 

Women's Soccer 


Brady Eichhorn-Hicks swept the men's soccer and women's soccer Coach-of-the-Year voting in 2018, after leading both teams at Anoka-Ramsey Community College to Conference championships and Region XIII tournament championships. 

Double-duty is nothing new to Eichhorn-Hicks, having been the women's coach at ARCC since 2008 and men's coach since 2009.   In 2018, the men's team made it's way to the NJCAA District C semi-final, falling to Richland College, 4-0.  The women's team also bowed out at the District tournament level, having been knocked out by Delta (MI) College, 2-1 in late October. 

For more on the soccer programs at Anoka-Ramsey Community College and head coach Brady Eichhorn-Hicks pleaseclick here. 


2018 Men's Soccer Conference & Region XIII Champions, 10-8 Overall, 4-1 MCAC. 

2018 Women's Soccer Conference & Region XIII Champions, 11-3 Overall, 4-0 MCAC. 

Region XIII Champions in men's soccer, with a overtime 1-0 golden goal victory in the 2018 final over Lake Superior College.

Women's soccer Region XIII Champions, downing Lake Superior College, 4-1 in Region final. 

ARCC had  nine men's players and nine women's student-athletes named to All-MCAC teams, as well as Player-of-the-Year. 



Jim Cox


Football Coach-of-the-Year                        


Jim Cox was announced as the 10th head football coach in the history of Northland Community & Technical College football in 2016.

In 2018, Cox was the head coach of a Pioneer team that went 8-2 this past season and won their second-straight MCAC Football Championship game plaque. 

The 2018 campaign continues for Northland through early December as they head to the Red Grange Bowl to take on Nassau Community College (7-3 overall).

In 2017, the Pioneers lost to Ellsworth (IA) Community College (4-8), 55-14 in the opening game of the Graphic Edge Bowl.

A native of Bedford, Iowa, Cox came to NCTC with a diverse coaching background including experience at the interscholastic, junior college, four year, and professional indoor arena football levels.                          

Second consecutive bowl bid for Northland, as the 2018 Pioneers head to the Red Grange Bowl     

MCAC Western Division Champions at 5-0 in Regular Season

2018 MCAC State Championship Game winners, 34-10 over NDSCS    

Northland boasts several individual standouts in the NJCAA football statistical top five, including quarterback Craig Wells, linebacker Tristan Murrin, and receiver Devonaire Clairington. 

The Pioneers currently are in the 'Receiving Votes' category of the NJCAA Top 20 Football poll. Final NJCAA national poll results will be released in December. 




MCAC Eastern Division



Greg Medeck, Central Lakes 

Weldon Braxton, Itasca

Greg Medeck led the CLC Raiders to a 5-0 Eastern Division mark and home field advantage throughout the post-season in his 12th year at the helm.  In 2018, Medeck eclipsed the 100-win mark in early October. 


Weldon Braxton leads a resurgent Itasca Community College squad, going 6-3 overall and earning a playoff berth. The Vikings cracked into the NJCAA Top 20 poll and sent a 20-year best mark in the regular season. 

Central Lakes College, 7-3 overall, 5-0 East

After two losses to open the season, CLC reeled off seven straight regular season wins.

Four Raiders were named to the 2018 All-Region Team. 

Itasca finished 6-3 overall and 3-2 in East, earning a MCAC playoff spot. 

ICC Knocked off West champion Northland 47-41 in OT to conclude the regular season. 

Two Vikings named to the 25-man NJCAA Region XIII team. 





MCAC Western Division

Coach of Year

Eric Issendorf


Eric Issendorf found success in his first year at North Dakota State College of Science, leading the Wildcats to the 2018 MCAC State Championship game.

Issendorf took over in January after spending the last 13 years as an elementary physical education instructor in the Fargo Public School district and while coaching, the last 3 years, at Concordia College in Moorhead, Minnesota. 

Issendorf was also a student-athlete player for NDSCS  ('92-'93) and served as an assistant coach under current NDSCS President John Richman.

In 1992, he was a member of the first Wildcat football team to win a NJCAA bowl game, a team that was inducted into the Wildcat Athletic Hall of Fame in 2012.             

NDSCS Wildcats finished 9-2 overall and were 4-1 in MCAC Western Division

Ranked as high as #17 in NJCAA Football Top 20 Poll                                               

Four NDSCS student-athletes named to the 2018 NJCAA Region XIII All-Region team

In first season at the helm, led the Wildcats to their third MCAC State Championship game in four years

Claimed the 2018 LumberCat trophy on the merits of a 9-7 win over rival Dakota College-Bottineau in October







Jason Retzlaff 


Golf Coach-of-the-Year

M State-Fergus Falls head coach Jason Retzlaff was named the Region XIII Coach of the Year, following his team's performance at the 2018 Region XIII championships in October. 
Retzlaff will lead the Spartans to the 2019 NJCAA Division III Championships, to be held June 4-7 at Chautauqua Golf Club in Chautauqua, NY. 
The National Championships are familiar territory for M State, as they are perennieally one of the top NJCAA Golf programs in the country.  





The 2018 Spartan squad won their eighth consecutive Region XIII/MCAC Championship title

M State advances to the 2019 NJCAA Division III Golf National Championships 

Retzlaff mentored  Carter Justesen to 2018 Medalist honors at the Region XIII Championship

The M State-Fergus Falls squad won their championship by just two shots over runner-up, Southwest Wisconsin Technical College






Gopher Sport serves as the lead sponsor for Coach-of-the-Year awards in the MCAC; COY honors are voted on by head coaches in their respective sport at the conclusion of regular season schedules.  The MCAC is home to league competitions in Football, Volleyball, Soccer (M/W), Golf, Basketball (M/W), Softball and Baseball.  

Gopher Sport, based in Owatonna, is an industry leader in Physical Education, sports and fitness equipment.  

Gopher Sport is dedicated to providing programs and departments with the products to improve fitness, develop skills, create fun and reach a high standard of learning and living. Gopher Sport has diligently served teachers, coaches and athletic directors around the world for over 65 years.