Jeff McMartin

Coach Jeff McMartin congratulates co-captain Joshua Mayhew after a playoff win over Wheaton (Ill.)

PELLA — Central College’s Jeff McMartin is the American Football Coaches Association’s Division III Coach of the Year.

It’s the loftiest honor of his 18-year Dutch career. McMartin was cited after piloting Central to a 12-1 season, including a 10-0 regular season, the program’s fourth undefeated regular-season campaign during his tenure.

McMartin received the award Monday at the AFCA Convention in San Antonio, Texas. Also honored were North Dakota State’s Matt Entz (FCS), Bowie State’s Damon Wilson (Division II) and Morningside’s Steve Ryan (NAIA). The winners are selected by a vote of active AFCA members at four-year schools in FCS, Division II, Division III and the NAIA. The AFCA has named a Coach of the Year since 1935. The AFCA Coach of the Year award is the oldest of all the coach of the year awards and the only one chosen exclusively by coaches.

Earlier McMartin received AFCA regional coach of the year honors for the second time. He was also cited in 2007. He took American Rivers coach of the year honors for the fifth time, along with his assistant coaches.

McMartin led Central to its second consecutive conference championship, winning the title outright after sharing it in 2019. It was the sixth league title for McMartin and a record 32nd league title for the Dutch, who also secured the program’s 22nd NCAA Division III playoff berth. Central scored playoff victories in the first two rounds before being ousted in the quarterfinals.

Under McMartin’s leadership the Dutch won nine Division III statistical championships this season and broke or tied an astonishing 61 school records, including 21 team marks. Quarterback Blaine Hawkins (5th-year, Ankeny) captured the Gagliardi Trophy as the nation’s outstanding Division III player.

It’s the fifth time a Central coach has received national coach of the year honors and McMartin is the first Dutch football coach cited. Gary Boeyink received women’s basketball honors in 1993, Megan Clayberg was cited in volleyball in 1998 and 2000 and George Wares was recognized in softball in 2003.

Central has twice had coaches cited as the AFCA Division III Assistant Coach of the Year, with Don De Waard honored in 2000 and Dick Bowzer in 2008.

A 1990 Central graduate and Wellsburg, Iowa native, McMartin has never had a losing season. He’s posted a glossy 140-43 (.765) record and is among the top Division III coaches in career winning percentage.

McMartin was named to the AFCA’s board of trustees in 2015 and is one of two Division III coaches to serve on the board, which formulates policy for the 11,000-member organization. He was the 11th Division III coach ever named to the board and followed his mentor, Central’s College Football Hall of Fame coach Ron Schipper, who was a trustee from 1984-94.

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