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Bethel College head football coach resigns; interim coach named

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NORTH NEWTON, KAN. – Mike Moore, Bethel College head football coach, has resigned effective Nov. 16, 2009.

“Mike has touched the lives of many young men during his tenure, and his leadership of the Bethel College football program will be greatly missed,” Diane Flickner, athletic director, said. “I sincerely appreciate the experience of working with Mike during the past 13 years and wish him the best as he pursues a new direction in his career.”

Coach Moore has just completed his 13th season on the Thresher football coaching staff and his 10th full season as head coach. Headed into his final game Saturday against Sterling College, Moore had a record of 2-7 for 2009 and a career record with the Threshers of 47-51.

Moore led the Threshers to a share of two out of the last four KCAC conference championships and coached two KCAC Offensive Players of the Year, two KCAC Defensive Players of the Year, five KCAC Special Teams Players of the year and one KCAC Conference Player of the Year. In 2000, he was named KCAC Coach of the Year by his peers and was one of 10 finalists for the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA) Coach of the Year. He received Coach of the Year honors again following the 2006 season, during which the Threshers earned a first-round NAIA playoff spot, Bethel's first post-season bid since 1984.

During his tenure as Threshers coach, Moore coached 22 NAIA Scholar-Athlete All-Americans and nine NAIA All-Americans, including two First Team NAIA All-Americans. Two of Moore’s players have been named to the prestigious AFCA Good Works Team. Before becoming head coach, Moore served as Thresher defensive coordinator from 1997-99.

Moore began his coaching career at McPherson High School and spent one season at the University of Nebraska-Omaha. He played at Dodge City Community College (1987-88) and at Kansas State University.

“Football is an important part of our athletic program, and I appreciate the contribution Mike has made to its development,” John Sheriff, interim president, said. “We are committed to continuing to build a strong football program in the context of strengthening the college as a whole.”

My family and I would like to extend our thanks to the Bethel College community, as well as to the Bethel College athletic department, for the past 13 years,” Moore said. “It is with great thought and prayer that we have come to the conclusion that it is time for me to move on in my career.

“I have had the opportunity to work for and beside many great men and women,” he continued, “and to all those that offered support and prayers, I want to personally thank you. This was a very difficult decision for me but one that I feel like is in the best interests of me, my family and Bethel College football.

“Once again I want to thank Bethel College for taking a chance on me 10 years ago when I was offered the head coaching job. It has been a wonderful experience and one that I will cherish.”

A committee has been convened to conduct a search and hire a head coach. Travis Graber, defensive coordinator, has been appointed interim coach.

Coach Graber has completed his ninth year on the Thresher coaching staff, his fifth as the defensive coordinator. He also serves as recruiting coordinator for the Thresher football program. At Bethel, Graber has coached 21 players to All-Conference honors. In 2007, his defensive unit had 10 players named to All-KCAC teams. Safety Brandon Kaufman was selected a 1st Team NAIA All-American. Before joining the Thresher coaching staff, Graber coached at Lawrence High School and at Wamego High School.

“Travis’ in-depth knowledge of the Bethel football program, current team members and recruits provides him with solid footing to lead the team through this transitional period,” Flickner said.

Bethel College is a four-year liberal arts college affiliated with Mennonite Church USA. Bethel is known for its academic excellence and was the only Kansas private college to be ranked in’s listing of “America’s Best Colleges” for 2009 and one of only two Kansas colleges listed in Colleges of Distinction 2008-09. For more information, see the Bethel Web site at

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