It is a chilly fall day on the Macalester campus and the football team is practicing on the field of Macalester Stadium. Marshall Mullenbach ’03 stands on the sideline, waving his hands around, communicating a playcall to his defense. The ball is snapped, and the quarterback drops back to throw a pass, which falls incomplete. “Good!” he yells, as he stares down at a laminated piece of paper, looking for the next play to call.
Coach Mullenbach is the defensive coordinator for Macalester’s Football team. He graduated from Macalester in 2003, where he received his degree in both mathematics and educational studies. When he graduated from Mac, he got a job at Cretin-Derham Hall high school in St. Paul. There, he worked as a math teacher and also coached football and baseball. Mullenbach spent two years at CDH before he joined the football staff at Macalester.
At Mac, he started out coaching defensive backs before he took over as defensive coordinator in 2009. As defensive coordinator, Mullenbach has helped lead the Scots’ defense to multiple national rankings. In 2012, Mullenbach’s defense ranked 22nd in the nation in total defense, giving up only 283 ypg, and ranking 15th in first down defense. In 2012, the Scots also finished eighth nationally for total passing defense, giving up only 144.2 yards per game. In 2013 Mullenbach was behind a defense that was 21st in the nation in total take aways (29) and fourth in fumble recoveries (17).
In 2014, Mullenbach helped orchestrate one of the Midwest Conference’s best defenses, when the Scots led the league in third and fourth down conversion percentages en route to a conference championship. In 2015, the Scots’ defense also led the league in red zone defense and fourth down conversion percentage.
In terms of his job, the seventh-year defensive coordinator loves what he is doing. He loves that he gets to work at his alma mater with “such a unique group of guys.”
“[I love] what we have done with the program… defying the odds … I have enjoyed taking a program that was in pretty bad shape, and showing people that we can do it here and be successful,” Mullenbach said.