/notables/2013/12/wheaton-assistant-takes-whitworth-job

Wheaton assistant takes Whitworth job

More news about: Wheaton (Ill.) | Whitworth

Rod Sandberg has been the defensive coordinator at Wheaton (Ill.) for the past decade and has taken his first head coaching job.
Wheaton athletics photo 

Rod Sandberg, a longtime defensive assistant coach at Wheaton (Ill.), has been selected as the head football coach at Whitworth.

Sandberg succeeds John Tully, who resigned in November following 19 years as the Pirates’ head coach.

“I’m very excited to welcome Coach Sandberg as Whitworth’s new head football coach,” said Whitworth president Beck A. Taylor. “In my many conversations with Rod, he has demonstrated not only great leadership and coaching strengths, but he also understands and embraces Whitworth’s mission. It will be fun to see where Rod will take the Pirates.”

Sandberg has served as the Thunder defensive coordinator since 2003 and he has been on Wheaton’s staff as the linebackers’ coach since 1995. In addition he has served as the team’s recruiting coordinator.

“We have hired a head football coach who strongly resonates with our mission and values, both institutionally and in the athletics department,” said Melinda Larson, Whitworth’s interim athletic director.

Sandberg, who has coached seven NCAA Division III All-Americans and 49 All-CCIW players during his tenure at Wheaton, had been coveted by other schools as a possible head coaching candidate throughout his time with the Thunder.

“It became clear to me during the interview process that Whitworth University is a special place,” Sandberg said. “The players, faculty and the administration are the kind of people I want to align myself with.”

Wheaton has made the NCAA Division III playoffs five times since Sandberg assumed the duties of defensive coordinator for the Thunder in 2003. The team never lost a first-round playoff game and reached the Division III semifinals in 2008 and quarterfinals in 2003.

Sandberg’s 2007 and 2013 squads led the Collegiate Conference of Illinois and Wisconsin, regarded as one of the strongest football leagues at the Division III level, in scoring defense. The Thunder were second in the league in scoring defense five other times.

As the Wheaton defensive coordinator, Sandberg helped develop Andy Studebaker (DL, 2006), Pete Ittersagen (DB, 2007 and 2008) and Brandon Dykstra (DL 2012) to All-American honors. Studebaker is in his sixth season in the NFL, currently with the Indianapolis Colts.

As the linebacker coach, Sandberg guided Chip Parrish (1995-96), J.D. Leman (2000) and Justin Knapp (2002) to All-America honors.

“Rod distinguished himself as our top candidate in a deep and talented applicant pool due to his proven coaching ability and his familiarity with Division III,” Larson said.

Whitworth returns several key players from the 2013 season, which finished with a final record of 4-6, including a 2-4 mark within the Northwest Conference.

But Sandberg does not see this as a rebuilding project for the Pirates.

“I see two very important things about this Whitworth squad,” he said. “First, there is a real bond among the players forged through their shared adversity. Second, they have a sincere desire to embrace change. They want to be led and they are ready to do the hard work it takes to reach their potential.”

“He [Coach Sandberg] brings a lot of passion and energy,” said Whitworth junior linebacker Grant Livingston. “He sincerely cares about all his players.”

Sandberg will begin work immediately. He will reach out to all the individual current players, begin introducing himself to recruits, pull together his coaching staff for next year, and connect with Pirate football alumni.

“There is much work to be done,” Sandberg said. “But God made it abundantly clear he is calling us here to Whitworth and Spokane.”

Sandberg will be joined at the press conference by his wife Amy, and their sons Derek and Toby.

Larson is ready to turn over the keys to the team to Sandberg.

“In his time with our current players he exhibited a passion for the game of football and the ability to clearly teach football skills,” Larson said. “He quickly established a positive rapport with the players and they appreciated both his competitive spirit and his commitment to service both on campus and in the community.”

Oct. 16: All times Eastern
Final
at Wheaton (Ill.) 42, North Central (Ill.) 20
Box Score Recap
Oct. 20: All times Eastern
7:00 PM
Gettysburg at Johns Hopkins
Video Video Live stats Live stats
Oct. 21: All times Eastern
12:00 PM
Westfield State at Framingham State
Video Live stats
12:00 PM
Moravian at Juniata
Live stats
12:00 PM
Endicott at Salve Regina
Video Preview Preview Live stats Audio
12:00 PM
St. Vincent at Thomas More
Video Live stats Audio
12:00 PM
Hobart at Union
Video Live stats Audio
1:00 PM
Colby at Hamilton
Video Live stats
1:00 PM
William Paterson at Christopher Newport
Video Live stats Audio
1:00 PM
St. John Fisher at Ithaca
Video Live stats Audio
1:00 PM
Kenyon at Allegheny
Video Live stats Audio
1:00 PM
SUNY-Maritime at Mount Ida
Video Live stats
1:00 PM
Middlebury at Bates
Video Preview Live stats
1:00 PM
Catholic at Springfield
Video Live stats
1:00 PM
Wesleyan at Amherst
Video Live stats
1:00 PM
Bowdoin at Trinity (Conn.)
Video Live stats
1:00 PM
Husson at Gallaudet
Video Live stats
1:00 PM
Wabash at Oberlin
Audio Audio
1:00 PM
Buffalo State at Utica
Video Live stats
1:00 PM
Ohio Northern at Muskingum
Video Preview Live stats Audio Audio
1:00 PM
Montclair State at Frostburg State
Video Live stats
1:00 PM
Rowan at Wesley
Video Preview Live stats Audio Audio
1:00 PM
Albright at Stevenson
Video Live stats Audio Tickets
1:00 PM
Wittenberg at DePauw
Video Preview Preview Preview Live stats Audio Audio
1:00 PM
Alma at Albion
Video Preview Live stats Audio
1:00 PM
Shenandoah at Guilford
Video Preview Live stats
1:00 PM
Plymouth State at Massachusetts Maritime
Video Preview Live stats
1:00 PM
Wooster at Hiram
Preview Audio
1:00 PM
Washington and Lee at Hampden-Sydney
Video Live stats Audio
1:00 PM
Alfred State at Anna Maria
Video Preview Live stats
1:00 PM
Bridgewater at Emory and Henry
Video Live stats Audio Audio
1:00 PM
Wilkes at FDU-Florham
Video Live stats
1:00 PM
Lebanon Valley at Misericordia
Video Live stats Audio
1:00 PM
Rochester at St. Lawrence
Video Live stats Audio Audio
1:00 PM
RPI at Alfred
Video Live stats
1:00 PM
Nichols at Curry
Video Live stats
1:00 PM
Southern Virginia at Salisbury
Video Preview Live stats Audio
1:00 PM
Ferrum at Brevard
Video Live stats Audio
1:00 PM
Randolph-Macon at Apprentice
Audio
1:00 PM
Ursinus at Susquehanna
Video Live stats
1:00 PM
Cortland at Morrisville State
Video Live stats
1:00 PM
Hope at Trine
Video Live stats Audio
1:00 PM
UW-Whitewater at UW-River Falls
Video
1:00 PM
Trinity (Texas) at Sewanee
Video Live stats
1:30 PM
Dickinson at Franklin and Marshall
Video Video Live stats
1:30 PM
Tufts at Williams
Video Live stats
1:30 PM
Mount Union at Wilmington
Video Preview Live stats Audio
1:30 PM
MIT at Coast Guard
Video Live stats Audio
1:30 PM
Maine Maritime at Norwich
Video Preview Live stats
1:30 PM
Heidelberg at Marietta
Video Preview Live stats Audio
1:30 PM
Franklin at Rose-Hulman
Video Preview Preview Live stats
1:30 PM
John Carroll at Capital
Video Live stats Audio
1:30 PM
Bluffton at Manchester
Video Live stats
1:30 PM
Mount St. Joseph at Anderson
2:00 PM
Kean at TCNJ
Live stats
2:00 PM
Greensboro at LaGrange
Video Live stats Audio
2:00 PM
Mass-Dartmouth at Worcester State
Video Live stats
2:00 PM
Muhlenberg at McDaniel
Video Preview Live stats
2:00 PM
Western New England at Becker
Video Live stats
2:00 PM
Methodist at Maryville (Tenn.)
Video Live stats
2:00 PM
Adrian at Kalamazoo
Video Live stats Audio
2:00 PM
Denison at Ohio Wesleyan
Video Preview Live stats
2:00 PM
Westminster (Pa.) at Washington and Jefferson
Video Live stats Live stats Audio Audio
2:00 PM
Berry at Millsaps
Video Live stats Audio
2:00 PM
Olivet at Benedictine
Video Live stats Audio
2:00 PM
Birmingham-Southern at Austin
Video Live stats
2:00 PM
Belhaven at Mary Hardin-Baylor
Video Live stats Audio
2:00 PM
UW-Stevens Point at UW-Stout
Audio
2:00 PM
Eureka at MacMurray
Video
2:00 PM
Carthage at Illinois Wesleyan
Video Live stats Audio Audio
2:00 PM
Wartburg at Luther
Video Live stats
2:00 PM
Nebraska Wesleyan at Buena Vista
Video Live stats Audio
2:00 PM
Lakeland at Wisconsin Lutheran
Video Preview Live stats
2:00 PM
Rockford at Aurora
Video Live stats
2:00 PM
Concordia (Wis.) at Concordia-Chicago
Video Live stats
2:00 PM
Carleton at St. Olaf
Video Live stats Audio
2:00 PM
Gustavus Adolphus at St. John's
Video Live stats Audio
2:00 PM
Augsburg at Concordia-Moorhead
Video Live stats Audio
2:00 PM
St. Thomas at Hamline
Video Live stats Audio
2:00 PM
Westminster (Mo.) at Greenville
Video Live stats
2:00 PM
Coe at Loras
Video Live stats
2:00 PM
Monmouth at Cornell
Video Live stats
2:00 PM
Wheaton (Ill.) at North Park
Live stats
2:00 PM
Northwestern (Minn.) at Martin Luther
Video Live stats
2:00 PM
Hardin-Simmons at Texas Lutheran
Video Live stats Audio Audio
2:00 PM
Grinnell at Lake Forest
Video Live stats
2:00 PM
Carroll at Millikin
Video Live stats Audio
2:00 PM
Ripon at Macalester
Video Live stats
2:00 PM
Lawrence at St. Norbert
Video Live stats
2:00 PM
St. Scholastica at Crown
Video Live stats
2:00 PM
Minnesota-Morris at Iowa Wesleyan
2:10 PM
UW-Platteville at UW-Eau Claire
Video Live stats Audio
2:30 PM
Merchant Marine at WPI
Video Live stats
2:30 PM
Rhodes at Centre
Video Live stats
2:30 PM
Hanover at Earlham
Video Preview Live stats Audio
2:30 PM
Beloit at Chicago
Video Preview Live stats
3:00 PM
UW-Oshkosh at UW-La Crosse
Video Live stats Audio Audio
3:00 PM
Simpson at Dubuque
Video Live stats Audio
3:00 PM
Augustana at North Central (Ill.)
Video Live stats Audio
3:00 PM
East Texas Baptist at Louisiana College
Live stats
4:00 PM
Hartwick at Brockport
Video Live stats
4:00 PM
Western Connecticut at Bridgewater State
Video Live stats
4:00 PM
Chapman at La Verne
Video Live stats Preview
4:00 PM
Pacific at Lewis and Clark
Video Live stats Audio Audio Tickets
4:00 PM
Pacific Lutheran at Willamette
Video Live stats
4:00 PM
Puget Sound at Whitworth
Video Preview Live stats Audio
4:00 PM
Redlands at Claremont-Mudd-Scripps
Video Audio
4:30 PM
George Fox at Linfield
Video Preview Live stats Audio
5:00 PM
Sul Ross State at Howard Payne
Video Live stats
6:00 PM
Dean at Castleton
Video Live stats Tickets
6:00 PM
N.C. Wesleyan at Averett
Video Live stats
7:00 PM
Baldwin Wallace at Otterbein
Video Preview Live stats Audio
7:00 PM
Case Western Reserve at Geneva
Video Preview Live stats
7:00 PM
Carnegie Mellon at Thiel
Video Preview Live stats
7:00 PM
Knox at Illinois College
Video Live stats
10:00 PM
Whittier at Cal Lutheran
Video Live stats
Cancelled
Occidental at Pomona-Pitzer
Oct. 16: All times Eastern
Final
at Wheaton (Ill.) 42, North Central (Ill.) 20
Box Score Recap
Oct. 20: All times Eastern
7:00 PM
Gettysburg at Johns Hopkins
Video Video Live stats Live stats
Oct. 21: All times Eastern
1:00 PM
Rowan at Wesley
Video Preview Live stats Audio Audio
1:00 PM
Montclair State at Frostburg State
Video Live stats
1:00 PM
Wittenberg at DePauw
Video Preview Preview Preview Live stats Audio Audio
1:00 PM
Catholic at Springfield
Video Live stats
1:30 PM
Mount Union at Wilmington
Live stats Audio Video Preview
1:30 PM
Heidelberg at Marietta
Video Preview Live stats Audio
2:00 PM
Westminster (Pa.) at Washington and Jefferson
Video Live stats Live stats Audio Audio
2:00 PM
Hardin-Simmons at Texas Lutheran
Video Live stats Audio Audio
2:00 PM
Belhaven at Mary Hardin-Baylor
Video Live stats Audio
2:00 PM
St. Thomas at Hamline
Video Live stats Audio
2:00 PM
Gustavus Adolphus at St. John's
Video Live stats Audio Audio
2:00 PM
Carthage at Illinois Wesleyan
Video Live stats Audio Audio
2:00 PM
Augsburg at Concordia-Moorhead
Video Live stats Audio
2:00 PM
Berry at Millsaps
Video Live stats Audio
2:00 PM
Wartburg at Luther
Video Live stats
2:10 PM
UW-Platteville at UW-Eau Claire
Video Live stats Audio
3:00 PM
UW-Oshkosh at UW-La Crosse
Video Live stats Audio Audio
3:00 PM
Augustana at North Central (Ill.)
Video Live stats Audio
4:00 PM
Hartwick at Brockport
Video Live stats
4:30 PM
George Fox at Linfield
Video Preview Live stats Audio
7:00 PM
Case Western Reserve at Geneva
Video Preview Live stats