Mark McElroy Selected as 2015 ACCFCA Coach of the Year

Saddleback College Head Coach Mark McElroy has been named the 2015 American Community College Football Coaches Association (ACCFCA) Coach of the Year. The award will be presented to McElroy at the American Football Coaches Association Coach of the Year Dinner on Tuesday, January 12, at the 2016 AFCA Convention in San Antonio, Texas.

“I am completely honored and humbled by this Coach of the Year Award and accept it on behalf of my coaching staff and the Gauchos of 2015, for without their focused purpose, passion and perseverance, I would not have been chosen for this award,” McElroy said.

McElroy completed his 17th season as the head coach at Saddleback College and led the Gauchos to a 10-3 overall record and an appearance in the California Community College Athletic Association (CCCAA) Football State Championship game. Saddleback reeled off 10 straight wins after starting the season 0-2, capturing the Southern League title and beat Long Beach City College to win the Southern California Football Association (SCFA) championship, which earned the Gauchos their spot in the CCCAA State Championship game.

McElroy has an overall record of 126-63 and has led Saddleback to four conference titles. The Gauchos have also advanced to post-season play for an SCFA record 13 straight seasons (2001-13), and 14 out of the last 15 years. McElroy has been named CCCAA Regional Coach of the Year three times (2004, 2006, 2015) and conference Coach of the Year four times. In 2004, McElroy guided Saddleback to an 11-2 record and the SoCal Regional Finals, and followed that up with a SoCal Regional semifinal appearance and an 11-1 record in 2006. He has produced 10 NFL players and 148 of his former players have transferred to NCAA Football Bowl Subdivision or Football Championship Subdivision programs. A total of 299 of his players have transferred to four-year collegiate institutions during his 17 years as head coach.

McElroy began his coaching career as an assistant in 1983 at his high school alma mater, San Clemente (Calif.) High School. He coached there for four years until 1987 when LaVell Edwards hired him as the head Junior Varsity coach at BYU and offensive assistant under Norm Chow. McElroy helped the Cougars to the 1989 Western Athletic Conference title before becoming an assistant at Whitworth College in 1990. After a brief stay in Spokane, McElroy coached one season at Capistrano Valley (Calif.) High School in 1991 before getting the head coaching job at San Clemente High School. He turned the Tritons into an annual playoff contender in his seven seasons, guiding San Clemente to a 43-28-3 overall record, the school’s first playoff appearance in 14 years (1993) and their first league title in 17 years (1995).

In addition to his coaching duties, McElroy has taught numerous classes at Saddleback and wrote the curriculum for the surfing program. In 2002, he coached the Gaucho Surf Team to the National Scholastic Surfing Association State Championship. McElroy also currently teaches Sport Psychology in the graduate program at Concordia University in Irvine, California.

In 1982, McElroy completed his bachelor’s degree in physical education at California State University, Chico. He has since completed two master’s degrees; one in leadership and human behavior from United States International University and one in physical education from Azusa Pacific University. He finished his educational pursuits by earning a doctorate in sport leadership from Brigham Young University in 1990. He contributed a chapter with Mike Leach in “Sports for Dorks: College Football.” In addition, he authored a bestselling instructional book in 1998 entitled “Coaching the No-Huddle Offense” and released the second edition in 2014. McElroy has spoken at numerous clinics over the past 19 years and believes strongly in teaching character principles to his athletes to help them become not only better football players, but more importantly, better people.

About the ACCFCA: Community college football coaches are among the very best in the profession. In recent years, there have been two organizations, the California Community College Football Coaches Association and the National Junior College Football Coaches Association. Each organization had its own Coach of the Year. In 2000, the AFCA invited the organizations to meet at the AFCA Convention. Three national goals were set: to form a national community college football coaches’ association, to study the possibility of a national championship game between the two organizations and to elect, yearly, a National Coach of the Year and to have that coach recognized by the AFCA.

Their initial goal, to create an umbrella coaches association, has been accomplished. In 2002, the American Community College Football Coaches Association selected its first national coach of the year, Michael White of Reedley College.  Past winners of the ACCFCA Coach of the Year are: Troy Morrell, Butler Community College, 2003; Tim Hatten, Pearl River Community College, 2004; Don Dillon, American River College, 2005; John Featherstone, El Camino College, 2006; Jeff Chudy, Bakersfield College, 2007; Jeff Jordan, Butte College, 2008; Brad Franchione, Blinn College, 2009; Bob Jastrab, Mt. San Antonio College, 2010; Scott Strohmeier, Iowa Western Community College, 2012; Bert Williams, Georgia Military College, 2013; and Buddy Stephens, East Mississippi Community College, 2011 and 2014.

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