St. Norbert coach steps down

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Jim Purtill has one of the three NCAA playoff wins posted by the Midwest Conference since the league was awarded an automatic bid.

St. Norbert College football coach Jim Purtill announced he has resigned from his position after 15 seasons in De Pere.

Purtill, 58, led the Green Knights to a 130-30 record during his tenure, which included 11 Midwest Conference championships and 10 appearances in the NCAA Division III Playoffs. His 130 wins were the fourth-highest total in the 92-year history of the conference, and he was 122-12 in Midwest Conference games. St. Norbert also had MWC winning streaks of 29 and 26 games under his direction.

"I would like to thank the St. Norbert College community for the support and friendships I have had the joy to embrace during my stay at the college," Purtill said. "It has been a very meaningful part of my life and professional career, which for a coach are one and the same.

"The honor and privilege to represent such an outstanding institution has been very humbling. Most importantly, to have had the opportunity to mentor and guide over 900 student-athletes during my time is very gratifying. As coaches we coach because of our desire to help young people strive for their dreams and learn the successful lessons of life. To that end, I truly believe that the St. Norbert College football program has made a difference in the lives of many."

St. Norbert College athletics director Tim Bald said a search for a successor will begin immediately.

"St. Norbert College would like to thank Jim for his 15 years of service," Bald said. "His dedication to his craft has been relentless during his tenure and the record he attained is a tribute to his work ethic. We wish Jim well in the future."

Purtill was the ninth head coach at St. Norbert, where the football program dates to 1931. His 130 wins are the most in school history. The Green Knights claimed their only post-season win in their history under his leadership, a 26-20 double-overtime win over Simpson College in the first round of the 2003 NCAA Division III Playoffs.

St. Norbert never won less than seven games in a season under Purtill, and only three times did the Green Knights win as few as seven games during his tenure. St. Norbert fashioned four unbeaten regular seasons with Purtill, going 10-0 in 2000, 2003, 2006 and 2007. The 2003 squad finished 11-1, a school record for wins, and lost to eventual national champion St. John's (Minn.) University in the second round of the NCAA playoffs.

Purtill leaves St. Norbert with the 47th best winning percentage all-time in NCAA football history at .767. His 130-39-1 career record includes one year as the head coach at Salem International (W.Va.)  in 1982.

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