NORTH NEWTON, KAN. – Bethel College announced Nov. 19 that Martin Mathis, Marian University, Indianapolis, has been hired as head football coach.
Mathis is finishing his sixth year as assistant head coach, and his seventh as a co-defensive coordinator and recruiting coordinator, for the Marian Knights. Marian is a Catholic and Franciscan liberal arts university with an enrollment of 2,500 in its undergraduate and graduate programs.
The Knights finished the 2012 regular season with a record of 8-1, ranked #5 in the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics. On Nov. 17, they advanced to the NAIA’s Football Championship Series quarterfinals with a 42-32 win over Northwestern College.
The team’s final ranking in 2011was #3, when they reached the FCS Final Four. That year, Mathis’ defense had five shutouts and allowed the second lowest points per game in the nation among NCAA Division 1, 2 and 3 and NAIA levels.
To date, Mathis has had 33 of his players honored as All-Mid-States Football Association (MFSA) Mideast League selections, including seven 1st Team selections in 2011, and has had four of his defensive players named NAIA All-Americans.
Mathis, a native of Cincinnati, is a 1995 graduate of the University of Minnesota – where he was a three-year letter winner at middle linebacker for the NCAA Division I Golden Gophers and served two years as a student coach – with a B.A. in youth studies/African-American studies/art studies.
He served in coaching positions at several high schools, including his own alma mater, Purcell Marian in Cincinnati, before spending three seasons as an assistant coach at Rose Hulman Institute of Technology, Terre Haute, Ind., as linebackers coach, special teams coordinator and, in his final season, defensive coordinator.
During his tenure at Rose Hulman, Mathis led eight defensive players to All-Conference honors and assisted in guiding a losing program to the .500 mark.
In 2005-06, Mathis guided the Cincinnati Marshals of the National Indoor Football League to the third round of the playoffs in the league’s inaugural season.
In the 2011 season, Mathis led the Marian University Knights defense to the top of the NAIA, with the nation’s top pass defense efficiency (79.0 rating), top rushing defense (72.4 yards per game) and top total defense (208.9 ypg). The Knights boasted the top scoring defense in all of college football, allowing an average of 7.4 points per game, and the No. 2 pass defense in the nation.
The Knights had a perfect 10-0 regular-season record and posted five shutouts, including four in the first five games. They did not allow a point at home until game four of a six-game home schedule. At the end of the season, Mathis was named NAIA Assistant Coach of the Year for the MFSA Mideast League.
Mathis comes from a family of athletes and coaches. His father, Michael Mathis, Sr., also coached Marian University football as well as University of Cincinnati basketball and was an NBA referee for 26 years. One brother coached basketball at Ohio State University and is currently on the coaching staff of the Dallas Mavericks. Another brother played football at Penn State and professionally for the San Francisco 49ers, Philadelphia Eagles and Carolina Panthers.
Mathis spends much of his time and energy, along with other members of his family, on the Mathis Foundation for Children in Cincinnati. For 15 years, the foundation has provided foster children with long-term mentors, financial assistance toward education, leadership programs and scholarships.
Bethel College is the only private college in Kansas listed in the 2012-13 Forbes.com analysis of premier colleges and universities in the United States and ranks in the top five “Best Baccalaureate Colleges” in the Washington Monthly annual college guide for 2012-13. The four-year liberal arts college is affiliated with Mennonite Church USA.