LAMONI, IA - Graceland University head football coach Jeff Douglas announced Monday his intention to resign after leading the Yellowjackets the past seven seasons. Douglas, a Yellowjacket Hall of Fame member, will depart with a combined 24 years of service to Graceland.
"It's very hard to say goodbye to a place that I have considered home for so many years. I'm proud to have spent half my life to working for Graceland," said Douglas. "Along with my coaching staff, I feel pride in the positive impact we've made on campus life, community life and the lives of the Graceland student-athletes. We have had a lot of success, both on and off the field, and I believe a very solid foundation has been laid for the next head coach and staff. I have nothing but fond memories of Graceland football; as a player, a coach and a fan."
Douglas served in various roles throughout his Graceland career. A 1984 graduate of Graceland University, he was a four-year varsity letter winner in football and baseball and earned All-American status for football. He was first hired in the fall of 1987 as an admissions counselor and assistant football coach. Over 14 years, Douglas worked as the assistant dean of admissions, head baseball coach, held several football coaching roles including offensive and defensive coordinator, as well as served as assistant athletic director and as a Graceland faculty member.
Douglas departed from 2001-06, before returning in 2007 as an assistant football and softball coach. In 2010, he was named the head football and softball coach, tying for second place in the conference in 2012 with a 22-19 overall record. In 2013, Douglas was named Graceland's head football coach and, last year, was tagged as assistant athletic director.
Douglas remarked, "I would like to thank the many people at Facility Services, the Registrar's Office, CAP Center, and the faculty and financial aid officers who I have worked with over the years. A special thank you to Coach Bill Dudek, who all those years ago saw something in me as a player, and then again as a coach. I am grateful to President Sellars for giving me the opportunity to become head football coach at my alma mater. The confidence he showed in me seven years ago will never be forgotten. In addition, I'd like to extend my gratitude to the late Tom Powell, who was very instrumental in my development as a coach and a person."
Athletic Director Joe Worlund said, "J.D. has been a valuable asset to Graceland and Graceland Athletics for many years. His experience and leadership will be missed. The football team has made great strides under his guidance. Football at Graceland is in a much better place than it was seven years ago when he took over the program. It is a tough task battling for wins every week of the season in the toughest football conference in the NAIA. I wish J.D. the best of luck as he pursues other interests at this point in his career."
Graceland finished the 2016 season with a 5-6 mark overall and was 3-2 in the North Division of the Heart of America. The season was highlighted with a 34-29 upset victory over then-ranked No. 19 Benedictine College. The Yellowjackets were just shy of another upset, falling to then-ranked No. 20 William Penn University in the final minute, 27-24.
"To all of our current and former players and staff, thank you for all your hard work and support," said Douglas. "I could not have asked for a better group of guys to work with as a head coach. We started at the bottom of the conference and now are a team that competes every season. Many of the Heart coaches know Graceland can't be overlooked. It's time for the next step: Heart Championship!"
Douglas leaves behind a dedicated coaching staff and team of student-athletes who will proudly carry on the Yellowjacket legacy. He plans to continue as a baseball coach at Interstate 35 High School, where he has led the team since 1998. As he walks away, he feels a great sense of pride in the work he has done. "Thank you, Graceland, for a tremendous ride!"
The university will begin a national search for the head coach position immediately. Graceland University invites applications for the full-time, 12-month position of Head Football Coach on the Lamoni, Iowa, campus. Graceland is an NAIA-affiliated university. The head coach is responsible for recruiting and retention, as well as the organization, supervision and administration of all aspects of the intercollegiate football program. Five years of coaching experience is required, recruiting and budget management at the collegiate level preferred.
The successful candidate will also have other duties as assigned by administration that match the strengths of the coach. Position requires a bachelor's degree (master's preferred) and will remain open until filled. Send letter of application, resume and three references to: Human Resources, Graceland University, 1 University Place, Lamoni, IA 50140, or electronically to [email protected] Phone inquiries to 641.784.5387.
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