Central’s De Waard named all-star team coach in Mexico
PELLA — Longtime Central College defensive coordinator Don De Waard has been named head coach of Team Stars and Stripes for the Tazon de Estrellas (Bowl of the Stars) football game set for La Fortaleza Azul (the Blue Fortress) in Guadalajara in Mexico Dec. 15.
The game is organized by Global Football.
John Roslien, director of Central’s athletic training education program, is also a veteran of the Division III team staff. He now serves as its player personnel director and was in Mexico Friday for a press conference announcing De Waard’s appointment.
De Waard previously served as an assistant for the U.S. team and also coached in its predecessor, the Aztec Bowl. He succeeds former Widener College (Pa.) coach Bill Manlove, who served as head coach of the Division III all-star team the past three years, and follows his mentor, the late Ron Schipper, a hall of fame coach at Central from 1961-96 and former Aztec Bowl head coach.
Team Stars and Stripes will play a team of squad of all-stars chosen from a national conference of Mexican private colleges. The Aztec Bowl was staged in Mexico for 11 years while the Tazon De Estrellas enters its fourth year. The Mexican team holds a 2-1 advantage in the series and was a 45-27 winner in last year’s game.
The 50-player U.S. roster is chosen from players nominated by Division III head coaches. This year’s team has not been selected but Central had six players chosen for last year’s game, with five in 2010 and two in 2009. Twelve Central players earlier participated in the Aztec Bowl, including current Dutch assistant coaches Jeff Sanger, Reid Evans and Matt Paulson.
“This is my first time as the head coach, but having extensive experience with this game in Mexico, I know what to expect and the challenges we face,” said De Waard, in a Global Football statement. “It is always an exciting experience and for the players, it is a wonderful opportunity to see a new culture and to get to play another game of football.
“We will work hard for four days to put together a team. The difference between this game and a lot of all-star games is that there are no limits on what the offense and defense can do. So we will keep it as simple as we can and not try to do too much, and will put together play calls that are sound and basic that everyone understands by the Friday night before we play.”
The team arrives in Guadalajara Dec. 9 and will practice twice a day the first three days before taking time to tour the region, with a visit to the colonial city of Guadalajara and the highlands region setting northwest of Mexico City. The plyaers will stay on the Tec de Monterrey campus this year, and will have a chance to interact with the Mexican players throughout the week.
“As we prepare for this annual event, now to be played for the 15th year, I think back to coach Ron Schipper who led the effort to create this opportunity for top Division III players, and to the 600-plus student athletes who have had this experience,” said Global Football President Patrick Steenberge. “It is fitting that Coach De Waard takes over as head coach, and I know he and our staff members will have the team ready to play.”
De Waard is in his 31st year on the Central staff. He is a 1982 Central graduate and former Dutch player. In 2000, the American Football Coaches Association named De Waard the Division III Assistant Coach of the Year and he was honored at the AFCA convention in Atlanta in January 2001.
A native of Kanawha, he is a certified public accountant and also serves as president of the Molengracht, a downtown development project in Pella, Iowa. De Waard and his wife Jean have four children and five grandchildren.
Mexican coach Frank Gonzalez is the country’s winningest coach with 16 championships in 26 seasons at Monterrey Tec and a 236-39 record.