- October 13, 2000
As the old cliche goes, all good things must come to an end. For Concordia College, that old saying rang true this week.
Jim Christopherson, head football coach of the Cobbers, announced at a press conference Tuesday morning, that he will retire at the end of the season.
Christopherson has been the head man for the Cobbers for 32 years. He took over for legendary coach Jake Christiansen in 1969 and has since then amassed an overall record of 216-98-7. He has won 11 MIAC championships, and two national championships; in 1978 and 1981. He is currently third on the list of wins among active coaches at the Division III level.
"This is the time to make the decision," Chistopherson said. "Our football program is in good shape here at Concordia. I think we have one of the high profile Division three programs."
The success of Christopherson's program has not been lost on others. "Under his leadership, the Cobbers have achieved unusual success and earned great respect throughout this country," said athletic director Dr. Armin Pipho. "No matter where I've been, people know about the tradition of Concordia."
Christopherson decided before the season that this would be his last.
Originally, he was going to keep the decision quiet until the end of the
season. But after careful consideration, he decided to make the
"I don't want this announcement to be a distraction for our players and staff," Christopherson said. "We have important business at Bethel this Saturday, and the subsequent four games after. These games are very important to all of us."
While the announcement may not be a distraction, it did come as a shock
to the players.
The coaches knew that this would be Christopherson's last season, but
even for them, it was stunning to actually hear him call it quits. "You
know it's coming," said defensive coordinator Dave
While Christopherson will be remembered for his actions on the field, it's his character off the field that will stick in the minds of many.
"What Jim Christopherson means to Concordia College goes well beyond the national and conference titles his teams have amassed over the last thirty-two years," said President Thomsen in a statement. "Most important, he has served as a championship caliber mentor and role model for scores of young people who have had the honor and privilege of playing for him."
According to Dr. Pipho, Concordia will conduct a nationwide search, with hopes of naming a new coach by the end of the year. He also said that their is a chance of an assistant within the program taking over.
"We probably have the best Division three football staff in the country,
I honestly believe that," said Dr. Pipho. "We obviously have quality people
among our assistand coaches. So if some of them are
Regardless of who takes over, they will have quite an act to follow.
Cobber Football |
Football rolls to Homecoming victory
Homecoming weekend saw the return of many Concordia alums to the campus.It also saw the return of two seniors to the Cobber football team. Andwhat a return it was.
Cornerback Dan Tollefson, who had missed the last two games due toinjury, came up with two big interceptions, and running back Jason Braaten, who had been quiet all year, erupted for a career day rushing as the Cobbers came away with an impressive 26-9 victory over Hamline. “I'm really glad to be back,” Tollefson said. “It was killing me watching practices and games.”
The Concordia defense was happy to have Tollefson back too, who had
been out with broken ribs. With the Cobbers up only 19-9 at the start of
the fourth quarter, Tollefson erased any chances of a Hamline comeback.
Tollefson picked off a pass by the Pipers’ Andy Kunzmann, and then raced
“The ribs are kind of sore,” Tollefson said. “But it was worth it.”
Offensively, the Cobbers turned to the running game, most noteably Braaten.
With the team often falling behind early this season, Braaten had had few
chances to carry the ball. But this game, Braaten got his chance, and took
full advantage as he carried the ball 20 times for a career-high 181 yards.
The Cobbers came out and took control of the game on their first drive.The offense took the opening kickoff and marched 72 yards in nine plays,capping the drive with a three-yard touchdown run from Len Crouse.
Later in the first quarter, after an interception by Eric Wold, Cobber quarterback Jeff Hertel hooked up with Adam Strainer for an 18-yard touchdown pass, and a 12-0 lead. Concordia would score one more time late in the first half, as Hertel hooked up with Jake Olson over the middle for a 29-yard touchdown, as the Cobbers took a 19-0 lead.
Hamline did show some life, though, as the Pipers’ Brandon Swenson returned
the opening kickoff of the second half 85-yards for the touchdown, to cut
the Cobber lead to 10 points. But from that point, the Cobber defense shut
down the Pipers. The defense, which had given up the big play all year,
made some big plays of their own. The defense had four second half interceptions,
including the big touchdown from Tollefson. For the game, the defense finished
“We got off to a good start and we kept our confidence,” Tollefson said. “We stopped the big play and we just rolled from there.” With the win, the Cobbers improve to 2-2 in the MIAC, and 2-3 overall.
Next up for the Cobbers is a road game at Bethel. The Royals are 5-0, and tied for first in the conference.
“We know what we’ve got to do,” Braaten said. “Now it’s just a matter of getting it done.”
Cobber Men's Soccer |
There is no article this week.
Cobber Women's Soccer |
Women's soccer welcomes win, deja' vu
The women’s soccer team stopped their three game losing streak on Saturday with their first conference win, 2-1 at St. Mary’s. In a strange case of deja’ vu, the game played out almost exactly as it did last season, with the Cobbers winning by an identical score of 2-1.
It was the second straight match-up between Concordia and St. Mary’s in which the Cobbers tied the game late (this year on a penalty kick by junior Jessica Spaulding) and senior Jordi Kortan kicked the winner in overtime.
“We expected to see Michael J. Fox stepping out of his ‘Back to the Future’ DeLorian,” said head coach Jim Cella. “Everything was the same. . . It was eerie.”
Cella was pleased with his team’s performance, and hoped that this was a sign of better things to come. “This is the best the women have played all year,” said Cella. “We’ve got some of the tougher teams out of the way, and now that our luck has changed hopefully we can reel of a winning streak.”
Concordia now is tied for eighth in the MIAC,
1-3 in conference play. They are 6-4 overall.
Cobber Volleyball |
Volleyball beats Bethel
The Concordia volleyball team recieved a big boost with last Tuesday’s win over previously unbeaten Bethel College. "This was a huge win for us," said Sarah Russell. "It will give all the other teams a look to see that we are tough."
The Concordia netters grappled with Bethel
early on, both teams wanting to show dominance. The first match went far
beyond the 15-point mark, but it was Bethel who came out with the 21-19
The Cobbers refocused and came out strong in the following match. Again
tight, the two teams struggled to stay on top, but it was Concordia who
was victorious in the second match 16-15.
Senior Sam Scariano led the Cobber
attack with 24 kills. Stacy Davis
was also a big contributor to, adding 16 kills and 19 digs. “Sometimes
we surprised ourselves,” Russel said. “We eliminated the
The Cobbers travel to Gustavus tonight and Carlton tomorrow. “From now
on it is up to us,” Russell said. “If we win, it is because we work hard.
If we lose it is because we make mistakes.” The Cobbers improve to
3-4 in the MIAC and 11-9 overall.
Cobber Women's Golf |
There is no article this week.
Cobber Men's Golf |
Golf teams compete in conference tourneys
The Concordia women’s and men’s golf teams recently played in their respective conference tournaments, with the women finishing first and the men finishing fifth.
The women’s team claimed the title by a whopping 24 strokes, marking their sixth consecutive MIAC championship title.
“It was a good weekend for us,” head coach Duane Siverson said. “To win the conference by such a large margin was a real surprise. We’ve established that we’re the team to beat in our conference.”
The Cobbers finished ahead of St. Thomas, a team who beat the Cobbers
earlier this season.
The Cobbers performed strong the first day, leading the pack by 28 strokes. “The first day we played extremely well,” Siverson said. “We blew everyone away, which was an indication of how well we prepared.”
The Cobbers had five of their six golfers finish in the top 10, led
by first-year player Liz Meschke
who captured first place with a two-day score of 164. Senior Jenni
Kovash finished fourth, sophomore Tanya
Ulvin finished fifth, first-year player Jill
Conrad finished sixth and senior
“This tournament will be a good indication of where our strengths will be in the national tournament,” Siverson said. “We just have to continue to practice and be more consistent.”
The men’s team also had their conference tournament last weekend, finishing
in a tie for fifth place along with Bethel. The Cobbers fell behind the
first day by finishing in sixth place, but performed well the second day
to move up to fifth. “The guys really played hard the second day, but it
was tough to catch up,” head coach Peter
Hovde said. “We have to work on not digging ourselves into a hole.”
“It doesn’t show in the stats, but we’re building confidence, skills and teamwork,” Hovde said. “These guys don’t every quit. They’re always trying to shave off that last stroke.”
Hovde said the strength of his team is that everyone plays a solid role
and knows how to perform.
“We’re steadily building our confidence,” he said. “Gustavus and St. John’s better watch out because we’re coming.”
Cobber Men's Cross Country |
There is no article this week.
Cobber Women's Cross Country |
There is no article this week.