|Luther made a splash this season under Aaron Hafner for more than just installing blue turf.
Photo by Pat Coleman, D3sports.com
After a season in which Luther football gained notice for posting its best record in more than a decade and installing the first blue football turf in Division III, Aaron Hafner, the head coach has resigned.
The Norse were 6-4 this past season, 20-30 in Hafner's five seasons. He inherited a team that had gone 0-10 in its final season under Mike Durnin.
"It was a tough decision to leave Luther College, but my family and I have an opportunity to teach and coach in the Kansas City, Kansas area and continue our journey closer to our immediate family,” stated Hafner.
“I would like to thank the Norse family for a great five years. I believe we have made great improvements in all facets of the Luther College football program and it will continue to grow stronger in years to come. It has been a team effort from our administration, coaches, staff, alumni and most importantly our football student-athletes. There is a great group of players here at Luther College that poured their hearts into our football program. I'm so grateful for the opportunity to coach such fine young men. They will continue to press forward and maximize their efforts on the field and in the classroom,” he said.
During his tenure, Hafner’s option rushing attack led the Iowa Conference in rushing all five years. From 2014-17 the Norse were ranked in the top-six of the NCAA III in rushing yards per game, including finishing second during the 2014 campaign. That year, Luther set a single season school record of 3,409 rushing yards and also tied the single game rushing record with 579 vs. Grinnell. This past year, he led the Norse to their first winning season (6-4) since 2005.
“I want to thank Coach Aaron Hafner for everything he has done for our student-athletes, football program, and Luther College,” athletic director Renae Hartl said. “Aaron is a true servant-leader. During his time here at Luther he was very active with on-campus committees, advisory groups, alumni and donor activities. He was very instrumental in the planning, fundraising and construction of our new blue turf on Legacy Field, which is and will continue to be a statement venue for our football program.”
“Aaron put together an amazing staff and our student-athletes are in fantastic hands while we decide in the coming days the direction our football program will be headed. I know Coach Hafner will continue to be very present in the lives of our past and current football players and I hope to see him back on campus in the years to come,” she said.