|New Manchester coach Nate Jensen has been an assistant coach at Manchester, Defiance, and Alma.
Alma athletics photo
Manchester athletic director Rick Espeset announced Friday, Jan. 15, that Nate Jensen has been named head football coach.
Jensen, MU's 15th head coach all-time, is no stranger to the Spartans' program. He was on former head coach Shannon Griffith's staff from 2004-08 during which the program had 12 players named all-Heartland Collegiate Athletic Conference on the defensive side of the ball and, due in large part to his leadership as a defensive line and linebackers coach, turned into one of the league's top defensive units.
He replaces Griffith, who moved from the sidelines to the university's advancement office earlier in the offseason after compiling a 40-79 record in 12 seasons.
"We're pleased to have Nate leading the program," Espeset said. "He's shown through previous successes that he's ready to move into a head coaching position. Nate brings a lot of energy and excitement to continue to build the Spartans to new heights. He's a great fit, too, for the Manchester University community, as he understands our mission."
After graduation and serving for five seasons on the Spartans' staff, he went back to Defiance, his alma mater, where he was the defensive coordinator and recruiting coordinator for three seasons. While at DC, Jensen coached 16 student-athletes who earned all-league honors, and the Yellow Jackets ranked second in the conference in scoring defense, rushing defense and total sacks during the 2009 and 2010 seasons and had one all-region and All-American honoree after the 2010 campaign. From there, he moved to Alma, where he was the Scots' defensive coordinator for four years. Under his tutelage, seven AC defensive players earned All-Michigan Intercollegiate Athletic Association honors, including two first-team selections in 2014 and 2015 and the conference's most valuable player this past fall.
Jensen has also seen football success on the field. During his collegiate playing career for Defiance, he was a three-year starter at defensive end and started on the Yellow Jackets' conference championship squad in 2001. He played in 27 games during his career and earned all-HCAC honors as a senior, when he set career-highs with 32 tackles, 7.5 for loss, and four sacks.
"This is a great situation not only for myself but also for my family, as my wife, Missy (King), is a graduate of MU," Jensen said. "I'm very excited to get started and work in a program that is on the rise not only in the HCAC but also the region. Manchester University is committed to developing its student-athletes on and off the gridiron."
"I want to thank the university as well as Rick and the search committee for having the confidence in me to fill this important role (in the athletics department)," he added.
What they're saying
Alma coach Greg Pscodna: "We appreciate Nate's efforts for the last four years of helping to turn the Alma College football program around. We know he will do the same as the head coach at Manchester University. We wish him, his wife, Missy, and his son, Matthew, much success as they start this chapter of their lives."
Sam Kent, Manchester defensive line coach and former player under Jensen: "Coach Jensen was a great coach to play for because he cared about you on and off the field. He was one of my biggest mentors throughout my four years (playing at MU). When I decided to go into college coaching, he was a person who helped me to understand what it was all about, and he's still a person who I have stayed in contact with throughout my coaching career."
Shannon Griffith, former Manchester head coach: "Nate was a part of my first staff here in 2003 and was instrumental in building our program into a competitive football team. He was integral in our recruiting process, as we built the initial squad size from 38 to over 100 within the first three years. I'm excited that one of my former assistants is getting the opportunity to carry on what was started and eager to see where (Nate) takes it. Manchester University is getting a great all-around person and family man. It's great to have Nate and Missy home."