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Waldorf’s Finley Selected as One of the Nations Top Coaches Under 35

Waldorf University football coach Will Finley was named to the American Football Coaches Association (AFCA) 35 under 35 list earlier this week. 

Finley just completed his first year as the head coach at Waldorf recorded a 6-3 overall record. He took over the post after serving one year as the school’s defensive coordinator. 

According to the AFCA website, the organization was founded to ensure that every football coach receives professional development, providing football coaches support and resources. They also offer industry networking and a forum to find professional football coaching jobs nationwide. 

To be considered for the list, coaches must be born on or after January 1, 1986, and must be currently serving as a high school head coach, two-year college full-time assistant or head coach, NAIA, NCAA, (all divisions) or NFL full-time assistant or head coach. Applicants were required to submit a resume, five references, and a 1,600-word article or five-minute live instructional video on an offensive, defensive, special teams, or position-specific topic of the applicant’s choosing. 

Finley is in great company on the list of exceptional coaches. The list includes the likes of Declan Doyle, tight ends coach with the New Orleans Saints, Ryan Walter, the defensive coordinator at the University of Missouri, GJ Kinne, Offensive Coordinator at the University of Hawaii, and Ryan Mataffery, offensive coordinator at the University of Northern Iowa. 

Waldorf athletic director Chad Gassman

Will was selected for the honor out of a group of more than 150 nominees. The 35 coaches will be invited to attend the one-day institute that features a curriculum of interactive lectures focused on topics specifically tailored to emphasize leadership in the coaching profession, ethics, influential responsibilities, career progression, and family balance. They will also be published in the bi-monthly magazine, insider weekly email blast, and/or have their articles and videos added to the AFCA educational library. 

“I am very grateful and humbled to be selected with so many great coaches! I’m fired up to learn, connect, and continue to grow as a coach!!” – Will Finley. 

Gassman was proud of how Finley handled his first year as a head coach. 

Waldorf collected 17 North Star Athletic Association All-Conference awards as announced yesterday by the conference.


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