The Scoop on the North Park University (D-III) opening
Earlier today we learned that North Park University (D-III - Chicago, IL) head coach Scott Pethtel had been let go after serving as head coach of the Vikings for the past seven seasons. Coach P has helped rebuild the foundation of a program that had once really struggled on and off the field, and the next head coach should benefit because of him and his staff's work.
North Park University is located on the north side of Chicago and competes in the very competitive College Conference of Illinois and Wisconsin alongside teams like North Central, Illinois Wesleyan, Wheaton, and Elmhurst. The conference is highly regarded as one of the top three toughest small college football conferences in the nation, and almost always receives an at large bid for the D-III playoffs, and can make a case for another at large bid for their third place team more times than not.
The campus setting is very nice, and while it is surruonded by city streets, you hardly notice it while walking through campus, making it easy to forget that your in one of the nation's largest cities. With that said, recruits and student athletes get a unique experience of having one of the most vibrant cities in the U.S. at their fingertips, while still getting a true small college feel. Very rare.
The field and indoor training facility are named after Mike Holmgren and his family, who have made substantial donations to help the athletic facilities at North Park. Several of Holmgren's children and in-laws graduated from the University. We understand that coach Holmgren often makes the occasion trip to Chicago and swings by campus to address the team or visit with coaches. That's one booster most head coaches and athletic directors would love to have by their side.
Administrative support is excellent, everyone on campus, from the Vice President to the people in admissions are all very approachable and supportive of the football program.
While the program hasn't had a conference victory since 2000, Pethtel's staff's did an an admirable job of closing the competitive gap by recruiting the right type student-athlete that will stick with the program and develop over a four year period. The job would be great for an established recruiter who can recruit the Chicagoland area, which is very populated with quality D-III programs. Chicago is an area that many other programs in Michigan, Ohio, Indiana and Iowa are really starting to saturate looking for quality student athletes to build their program with, and there is no shortage of them in the city and suburbs.
With everything else seemingly in place, this would be a tremendous opportunity for the right hire.