Duhawks finalize football coaching staff
Fri, Feb. 18, 2011 - [Football]

The Loras College Athletic Department, Director of Athletics Bob Quinn, and head football coach Paul Mierkiewicz have finalized the full time positions on the football coaching staff. The additions include nearly a combined forty years of coaching experience, at the NCAA Division II, Division III and NAIA levels, along with some with previous coaching and playing experience at Loras.

Paul Mierkiewicz will oversee the Duhawks football program as he enters his first year as the head coach at Loras in 2011. Other new additions include assistant coaches Steve Helminiak, Tom Kropf, and Brent O'Brien. Gavin McMacken will continue his role as defensive coordinator for Loras. Josh Edwards will continue his role as the Head Strength and Conditioning Coach and linebackers coach.
"It was really important to get a staff with excellent coaches and recruiters who understood the vision of Loras College and the direction we want this program to go," said head coach Paul Mierkiewicz.
Mierkiewicz served as the head coach at Hastings College since 2001. He previously served as an assistant at Hastings and Loras. Mierkiewicz graduated from Loras in 1989 following a four year playing career for the Duhawks.
Helminiak was most recently the head coach at Southern Oregon from 2006-2010. He had previously worked on the football staff at Rockford College and also was an assistant at Loras for eleven years. Helminiak graduated from Loras in 1991 after competing as a member of the football team for four seasons. He will serve as the offensive line coach.
"It is great for me to be back with the Duhawks. The improvements and updates the college has made are tremendous, and after nine seasons of work with (head coach Paul) Mierkiewicz here at Loras in the past, I'm excited to be working with him again," Helminiak said.
Kropf has had coaching stops at Culver-Stockton College, State University of New York - Maritime College, and Rockford College. He graduated from Loras in 2004, was a team captain his senior year, and will coach the running backs.

"It is a privilege to be back with my alma mater," Kropf said this week. "I think we're all ready to take a major step forward with the Loras football program and I'm excited to be on board for it."

O'Brien previously coached at Fort Hays State University, Earlham College, and Hastings College. O'Brien graduated from Hastings College in 2005 and played for Mierkiewicz for four years. He will coach the defensive backs.
"After playing for Coach Mierkiewicz and coaching with him, I know how much energy he brings to the field and the work ethic that is required to play for him," O'Brien noted. "Both of those things are a part of the success he's had and what makes me so excited to be a part of this staff."
"I'm excited as we move forward with this talented staff in place as we prepare for spring workouts," added Mierkiewicz. "The work starts this spring semester, and while there's plenty to learn, our young men have already shown great enthusiasm in getting ready for September 3rd against Elmhurst."

For complete biographies on the Loras College football staff, click HERE.