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The Mac Weekly

The Student News Site of Macalester College

The Mac Weekly

The Student News Site of Macalester College

The Mac Weekly

Looking within: Jennison named Football Head Coach

By Josh Springer

In its search for a new head football coach, the Macalester Athletic Department had only to look inward, hiring former defensive coordinator Tony Jennison to fill the role. Jennison, who came to Macalester just two years ago as a member of Glenn Caruso’s coaching staff, will look to build on the team’s momentum from this past season.Jennison, who has long held the professional ambition of being head coach at the Division III level, is from Minnesota and says he intends to stay. Having formerly coached defense at Marietta College in Ohio for three years and University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire for four, Jennison brings with him extensive experience and knowledge of the game. Both administrators and athlete expressed full confidence in his abilities to assume the head coaching position.

“It will be my job to develop the players on this team as athletes, students and people,” Jennison said.

The sudden departure of former head coach Caruso from the Macalester football program incited questions concerning the team’s future. Initially, finding a new head coach became the first priority of the Athletic Department. Since Jennison’s appointment, the football program has begun a nation-wide search to fill the remaining staff positions. Over 80 applications for offensive coordinator have already been submitted and are currently under review.

Most recently the program announced the appointment of Marshall Mullenbach as special teams and defensive backs coach. The offensive coordinator will be the final full-time staff position to be filled. Jennison plans to fill it by early March. Establishing the new coaching staff will help the program concentrate on next season.

Renewing the notion of a stable and long-term coaching staff will be important for the program, which has experienced many changes in recent years. Seniors graduating this spring, before hearing the news of Caruso’s resignation, had already played under two different coaches.

Two team meetings have been held since Caruso’s flight and Jennison’s subsequent appointment. After convening, a general consensus to move forward with plans and goals for next season was solidified. “Everyone’s been extremely positive,” Jennison said. “We will work together with a common vision.”

Returning athletes have expressed gratitude towards Jennison and his commitment to the team.

“It meant a lot to the team that coach Jennison stayed with us at Macalester,” Jacob McDonnell ’09 said. “A lot of the guys are excited about next season.”

Younger athletes are now thinking ahead to next fall with their new coach, to what can be done to continue maturing the team. His players describe Jennison as a “genuine guy” who will help the program in the long run. “We respect him as a coach and a person,” Zach Hahn ’09 said.

“I think the team was relieved to hear the news [of Jennison’s appointment],” McDonnell said. “We didn’t necessarily want to bring in a new guy.”

As head coach, Jennison will maintain the team’s direction and style of play. “Not much is changing really,” Jennison said. “We will continue to stay on track with a belief in building and improvement.”

Recruiting becomes the program’s main focus during the off-season. With over 200 applicants interested in playing, both Jennison and Mullenbach seem confident in the team’s further growth as a competitive program. Expanding the team’s roster is one of Jennison’s primary aspirations in strengthening the program. Five early-decision candidates have already committed to playing football next fall. “Mullenbach has helped tremendously with the recruiting process during this transition,” Jennison said.

After the confusion and uncertainty following the major coaching flip, the players have responded admirably. “We are excited about next season opening with a game against Caruso and St. Thomas,” Brian Foster ’11.

“This is an incredible time to be here at Macalester,” Jennison said. “I am very confident about the future of the program.

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