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12/7/00 Jim Christopherson Selected to Coach in Aztec Bowl Jim Christopherson, Head Football Coach

Concordia's long time coach Jim Christopherson has been selected as one of the assistant coaches for the  American squad for the December 16 Aztec Bowl football game in Merida, Mexico.

The Aztec Bowl, sponsored by the American Football Coaches Assosication (www.afca.com), matches a group of USA Division III All-Stars against a Mexican All-Star Team.  Kickoff is set for 6:30 CST Dec. 16 at Alvarado Stadium in Merida.

The US team will be coached for the fourth consecutive year by former Central of Iowa head coach Ron Schipper.

Christopherson will help coach Concordia defensive lineman Mark Hankel, who was selected as a player for the American squad. Christopherson and Hakel will join former Concordia standouts Jake Estenson and Tory Langemo as the only Cobbers to participate in this all-star contest. The Aztec Bowl was started in 1997.

(See also Mark Hankel Release on Aztec Bowl)

2000 Aztec Bowl Game Coachin Staff

USA Head Coach Ron Schipper
Former Central (Iowa) Head Coach Ron Schipper returns in 2000 to lead the USA National Team for the fourth year.

In 36 years at Central from 1961-1996, Schipper amassed 287 career victories, second among NCAA Div. III coaches, trailing only John Gagliardi of St. John's (Minn.).

In recognition of his stellar coaching career, Schipper was among the 2000 class of inductees for the College Football Hall of Fame in August.

With a career record of 287-67-3, Schipper ranked fourth in Division III in career winning percentage at the time of his retirement with a lofty .808 mark. Schipper also coached high school football in Michigan for nine years, with a record of 33-9-2, including a 32-2-1 mark at Northville High School. His combined 45-year record was 320-76-5.

Schipper was president of the 8,000-member American Football Coaches Association in 1994, served on the group's board of trustees from 1985-94 and was a member of the AFCA's College Football USA Blue Ribbon Task Force. He was named one of the five most influential people in the NCAA Division III in 1994 by College Sports Magazine.

Following his retirement, Schipper received the inaugural Butterfield Award for outstanding performance as an NCAA Division III coach at the USA III All-Star Game in 1997, and was named chair of the Butterfield Award selection committee in 1998. He was also given a Citation of Honor award from the Football Writers Association of America for his service to college athletics and contributions to football.

An award given annually to a Central College senior, the Ron Schipper Leadership Award, was created in 1997, and the college also announced that a planned new athletic facility would be named the Ron Schipper Fitness Center. The building opened in March, 1999.

Schipper piloted the Dutch to an NCAA record 36 consecutive winning seasons. His Central teams won a record 18 Iowa Conference championships and claimed 10 crowns in his final 13 years as head coach. During his last 12 years, Central compiled a remarkable Iowa Conference record of 89-5. Central was been selected for the NCAA Div. III playoffs 12 times between 1974 and 1996, including 10 appearances between 1984 and 1996. The Dutchmen won the NCAA Div. III national title in 1974 and advanced to the national finals three times, placing second in 1984 and 1988. Central won the West Region championship in 1984, 1985, 1987, 1988, and 1990. Only two schools in the U.S. have more playoff wins.

For six years Schipper was a member of the NCAA Div. III football committee, including a year as chair, and later was a member of the West Region Advisory Committee. He also served six years on the NCAA football television committee, the NCAA football rules committee, and as chair of the AFCA's College Division II All-America selection committee.

Schipper has extensive international experience in addition to his two years as the USA Team head coach. He took teams to conduct clinics and play exhibitions in Italy and England in 1985 and 1989, and in Australia in 1994. He's also conducted clinics in the Yucatan in Mexico and spent three months coaching a professional squad in England in 1988. Following his retirement, Schipper took a squad of Central players to Switzerland, Austria, Germany and France in 1998.

A native of Zeeland, Mich., Schipper is a graduate of Hope College and was named a distinguished alumnus there in 1994. He lettered in football, baseball, and tennis at Hope. He has a master's degree in mathematics from the University of Michigan.  He and his wife, Joyce, have three children, Tim, Sara, and Tom, who are all Central graduates. The Schippers have five grandchildren. Schipper resides in Holland, Mich. and he serves as a volunteer assistant football coach at Fennville (Mich.) High School where his son, Tim, serves as head coach.

USA Assistant Coaches
Bob Reade, Augustana (Ill.) College
One of the top coaches in college football history, Bob Reade is making his fourth coaching appearance in the Aztec Bowl. He compiled a remarkable record of 146-23-1 overall and 112-12-1 in the College Conference of Illinois and Wisconsin in 16 years from 1979-1994 at the Rock Island, Ill. school. Reade’s .864 career winning percentage is the fourth best all-time in the NCAA at any level. His Vikings made 11 trips to the NCAA Division III playoffs, including an NCAA-record 10 straight appearances from 1981-1990, winning four straight national championships from 1983-86. His senior class of 1986 finished their college careers without a loss, compiling a record of 49-0-1 and playing a hand in all four of Augustana’s national titles. Reade’s teams also won 12 CCIW championships, including eight straight from 1981-88. He retired following the 1994 season.

Jim Hershberger, Buena Vista College
The most successful football coach in the history of Buena Vista College, Jim Hershberger is making his third coaching appearance in the Aztec Bowl. He was served as an assistant coach with the 1998 USA Team. Hershberger compiled a 121-61-1 record at Buena Vista from 1970-1989. Hershberger led the Beavers to 18 winning seasons, three Iowa Conference championships, two NCAA playoff appearances and one NAIA bowl game win. He was named Iowa Conference Coach of the Year three times, the last in 1986 when he led the Storm Lake, Iowa college to a school record nine consecutive wins that year.
After retiring from coaching in 1989, he served as the school’s athletic director until 1994.

John Luckhardt, Washington & Jefferson College
The winningest coach in Washington & Jefferson history, John Luckhardt is making his second coaching appearance in the Aztec Bowl. He compiled a record of 137-37-2 in 17 years at the Washington, Pa. school and led the Presidents to eight consecutive Division III playoff appearances from 1989-1996, including trips to the national championship game in 1992 and 1994, earning AFCA Coach of the Year honors in 1992. Luckhardt served on the AFCA’s Board of Trustees from 1996 to 1998. He announced his retirement as football coach at the end of the 1998 season. He continues to serve as Washington & Jefferson’s director of athletics and has also assumed the role of director of development for special projects for the college.

Jim Christopherson, Concordia (Minn.) College
The winningest coach in Concordia College history, Jim Christopherson is making his first coaching appearance in the Aztec Bowl. Christopherson compiled a 218-101-7 record in 32 seasons at the Moorhead, Minnesota school. Christopherson led the Cobbers to 11 Minnesota Intercollegiate Athletic Conference titles and a pair of national championships during his tenure, which began in 1969 and ended this year. In 1997, he became one of only 18 coaches in NCAA history to win 200 games at one school. His 218 wins was third-best among active Division III coaches at the time of his retirement. His 179 wins in MIAC play rank No. 2 all-time in conference history.

Howie Vandersea, Bowdoin College
One of the top Division coaches in New England, Howie Vandersea is making his first coaching appearance in the Aztec Bowl this year. In his 16 years at Bowdoin College in Brunswick, Maine, Vandersea won five Colby-Bates-Bowdoin (CBB) titles and coached numerous players who earned individual football recognition. He posted a mark of 46-79-3 at Bowdoin, including a 5-3 mark in 1998. Among the players who Vandersea coached is Kevin Saxton, the New England Small College Athletic Conference Defensive Player of the Year and a member of the Aztec Bowl squad that season. Vandersea also served as the head coach at Springfield for eight seasons from 1976-83, compiling a 42-35 record before coming to Bowdoin in 1984.

Vandersea retired from coaching following the 1999 season.

2000 Aztec Bowl Game Information

Date: Saturday, December 16, 2000
Kickoff: 7 p.m. CST
Site: Alvarado Stadium, Merida, Mexico (cap: 8,000)
Television: None in the U.S.
Internet: Results will be available on the AFCA’s website at www.afca.com.

The Series: Fourth USA National Team-Mexico National Team meeting. U.S. leads 3-0. Prior to 1997, Mexico had a record of 11-14-1 in 26 Aztec Bowls dating back to 1947. Opponents in those games were a mixture of junior colleges, NCAA and NAIA schools, military and international teams.

Last Year: The USA National Team defeated Mexico 44-13 in front of 12,000 fans at Massieu Stadium in Mexico City, Mexico. Buena Vista runningback Ben Smith rushed for two touchdowns and 137 yards to lead the U.S. squad and was named the Player of the Game.

Event Background: The Aztec Bowl is the traditional season-ending game for Mexico’s college football season. The game has been played 29 times since 1947 with the last two contests in 1997 and 1998 featuring the United States-Mexico match-up. Mexico faced a mixture of NCAA and NAIA colleges, junior colleges, armed forces teams and international teams in the 26 Aztec Bowls prior to 1997.

AFCA Involvement: Along with giving outstanding Division III players an opportunity to play in an all-star game setting, the Aztec Bowl is part of the AFCA’s involvement with Football Federation USA. FFUSA was organized in 1998 for the purpose of uniting the amateur football athletes around  the world through education, special events and travel.

Aztec Bowl Alumni: Two former USA Team members, London Fletcher and Clint Kriewaldt, are currently playing in the National Football League. Fletcher, who played collegiately at John Carroll and was a member of the 1997 U.S. team, is a starting linebacker with the Super Bowl champion St. Louis Rams.  Kriewaldt was the Detroit Lions’ 1999 fifth-round draft pick out of Wisconsin-Stevens Point and played in the 1998 Aztec Bowl.

For more on the game go to : www.afca.com

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