Tue, Dec. 17, 2013 - [Football]
Loras College Director of Athletics Bob Quinn announced on Tuesday the selection of Steve Helminiak as head football coach. A full search conducted by the College wrapped up late last week as the semester came to a close. Quinn, along with a small group of administrators, unanimously approved Helminiak's selection.
Helminiak has been on staff with the Duhawks since 2011. He has served as Offensive Line Coach and was Associate Head Coach most recently. He served as Interim Head Coach over the final three weeks of the 2013 season. Additionally, from 1990-2000 Helminiak was a part of the Loras coaching staff as Offensive Line Coach (1991-1997) and Offensive Coordinator (1998-2000). From 2006-2011 he was the head coach of the Southern Oregon University Raiders.
"Steve has extensive football contacts and experience. At his core, he is an excellent recruiter, teacher, role model and leader," Quinn said on Monday. "We've selected him after giving careful consideration to what our current student-athletes need and what the next generation of Loras College football seeks to achieve."
Other players and coaches enthusiastically weighed in on Helminiak's promotion as well.
Greg Hammann (Dyersville, Iowa/Beckman Catholic) and Frank Lenti (Chicago, Illinois/Mount Carmel) both offered their thoughts upon learning of the hire.
"Steve is an inspirational leader and a great person and role model for student-athletes," said Lenti. "He's a great football mind and recruiter and I think that makes him the perfect person to resurrect the Duhawk football program. Mount Carmel High School and I are excited to send more Caravan student-athletes to Loras College."
"Our kids that have attended Coach Helminiak's Big Man Camp have learned more and developed more skill there than at any other camp they have ever attended," Hammann said.
The Blazers' head coach added, "As a high school football coach in the area, I have seen Steve Helminiak work as a coach and recruiter. His is enthusiastic and knowledgeable about the game of football and Loras College. The Duhawks have not always been a viable option for our student-athletes as a post-high school football destination, but have moved to the top of the list with Coach Helminiak."
Dan Murray, a senior on the 2013 Duhawk offensive line and co-captain who earned All-IIAC Honorable Mention in 2013 shared his thoughts.
"Coach Helminiak's leadership style creates a relationship with his players that is positive and inspirational," the Park Ridge, Illinois native said. "I have grown tremendously as a person and as an offensive lineman over the past three years. Coach is a great teacher of football and character. I'm confident he is the right person to turn the program around. As a soon-to-be alum, I'm excited to watch it unfold."
Helminiak, who is currently out on the recruiting trail, shared his thoughts.
"To begin, I'd like to thank Loras College President Jim Collins, Director of Athletics Bob Quinn, Associate Director of Athletics Denise Udelhofen, the Hiring Committee and all those involved in the selection of the 27th Head Football Coach at Loras College," Helminiak said. "I believe in the mission of Loras College as a premier Catholic Liberal Arts College, producing principled thinkers and caring professionals."
"I am extremely grateful for this opportunity, honored to be named, and humbled by the responsibility. I am extremely excited to continue working with the outstanding young men we currently have in the program and equally excited to recruit quality student-athletes that will not only help to rebuild the Loras football program, but will also contribute to our campus academically, spiritually, and socially."
"I also want to thank my wife Kelli and our children, whose encouragement and support have been crucial. We as a family are thrilled about remaining at Loras College and the Dubuque community. We are a Loras family, and look forward to giving back to Loras College, a place that has given us so much!"
Helminiak is a 1991 graduate of Loras College and resides in Dubuque with his wife Kelli ('98) and their five children.