• Crone: Bearcats coach Mel Tjeerdsma was indeed a difference maker

  • Anyone who has ever coached has wanted to be remembered as a difference maker.

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  • Anyone who has ever coached has wanted to be remembered as a difference maker.
    Very few coaches ever reach the difference maker status however. Coach Mel Tjeerdsma of Northwest Missouri State University has accomplished what few coaches are able to accomplish.
    He turned an extremely poor NCAA Division II football program into a model program for the country. He was able to do so with class and common sense and without recruiting violations or excessive problems off the field. I recall when he arrived in Maryville and finished the 1994 season 0-11.
    Even at that, when I met him he had an aura of confidence and I felt that a change was coming. Boy, what a change that was about to become.
    He will finish his career there with a record of 183-43, three national championships, seven title game appearances and 12 MIAA conference championships! Amazing is the only word I can think of to describe him.
    He had the Bearcats practice a couple of times at Blue Springs when the team was in Kansas City to face Pitt State. His practices were sharp and organized, but what I noticed most was the fun interaction between the coach, his coaching staff and the players.
    He also spoke at the spring conference of the athletic directors and his honesty, character and integrity oozed out during that speech.
    As the saying goes, all good things must come to an end. I am sad to see the coaching legend and great person, Coach Tjeerdsma, leave the program he has molded into the best. The people who he influenced during those years will always remember him. I know Coach will enjoy his retirement years with his family and especially with his grandchildren. As a Northwest alumni, thank you Coach Tjeerdsma!
    n Former Blue Springs player, Brandon Lloyd has made it into the Pro Bowl. I called his dad to congratulate the entire family for a great achievement. He never gave up on self-belief in his abilities.
    n The official in the Kansas State bowl game made one of the worst calls I have ever seen with excessive celebration. How about using a little common sense?!
    n Blaine Gabbert ended the season with one of the ugliest plays in Missouri Tiger history. Even at that, he has tremendous ability.
    n I am Orange Bowl bound. What fun to watch Virginia Tech and Stanford play one another. Andrew Luck will without a doubt become a great NFL quarterback.
    n My quote of the week is from President and General Dwight D. Eisenhower: “A platoon leader doesn’t get his platoon to go by getting up and shouting, ‘I am smarter, I am bigger, I am stronger, I am the leader.’ He gets men to go along with him because they want to do it for him, and they believe in him.”

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