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ECC hires new football coach

ECC hires new football coach

Ellsworth Community College is excited to announce the hiring of new Head Football Coach Mitchell Kleinschrodt. Coming off of a one-win season, the Panthers are looking forward to a new start and direction for the program.

Coach Kleinschrodt spent 2018 as the Director of Recruiting at Division I University of New Mexico. In 2017 he was the Offensive Coordinator/Quarterbacks Coach at Upper Iowa University. In 2016 he was the Director of Player Personnel at UNM and then moved to the running backs graduate assistant. 2015 was his first season with UNM when he was a wide receivers graduate assistant.

Prior to being in New Mexico, Coach Kleinschrodt spent the 2014 season at Highland Community College as the running backs coach, wide receivers recruiting coordinator and video coordinator. Before that, he served as a graduate assistant at St. Cloud State University in his home state of Minnesota. In 2012-13, he assisted coaching the defensive backs and was video coordinator for the Huskies. During his time at St. Cloud State University, the Huskies finished 7-4 in 2012 and 12-2 in 2013; the 2013 squad advanced to the NCAA II quarterfinals.

Coach Kleinschrodt, a native of Alden, MN, graduated in 2008 from Alden-Conger High School. He went on to Gustavus Adolphus College, where he bounced around both sides of the ball playing quarterback, wide receiver, and later finished as a defensive back. Mitchell graduated from Gustavus Adolphus in 2012 with a bachelor's degree in communication studies. He also holds a master's degree in educational administration and leadership from St. Cloud State and a master's in Sports Administration from the University of New Mexico.

The new head coach is hoping to be on the Ellsworth campus by the end of this week. He plans to meet with current players, assess their academics, get to know them, and allow them to learn more about who he is and his expectations. "The next step will be getting them ready for next season and the off season with workouts and strength and conditioning," says Coach Kleinschrodt. "After we make sure our current players are where they need to be, we will be hitting the road looking for new Panthers."

Coach Kleinschrodt says he bases his coaching and leadership on relationships. "The biggest thing and why I love football is the relationships and being with guys that want to help impact other peoples' lives. I've made a lot of great relationships with players, coaches, and former teammates." 

With the Panthers coming off a losing season, Coach Kleinschrodt says he will look to make some changes in the program. "For me, it's about coming in and starting a good culture. We work hard at doing that by establishing the values in a program that are going to help players be successful in life after they leave Ellsworth. That's how you measure success. The wins and the successes that people see on the outside will become a bi-product of building good relationships. Our coaches and players are going to leave here better than when they got here. 

One word was used to describe what Kleinschrodt is looking forward to in his new position as ECC: Everything. "I've been at all levels of football and had a lot of different roles throughout. This is an opportunity for me to become a head coach in a good league with a tough schedule. More importantly, there are a lot of good people at ECC and in the Iowa Falls community and I'm very excited to get a chance to work with them."

His first impressions of Iowa Falls and Ellsworth were the fact that the small town community was filled with friendly, hard-working people. "Everybody takes care of each other. I enjoy a small college scene and small community. ECC provides a beautiful campus, and the buildings and facilities are everything we need for what we are trying to do."

Several of the past season's coaching staff have departed from ECC. Coach Kleinschrodt plans to fill these positions to build a team for next year. "I'm looking for the best coaches and best fit to build a staff that wants to put people first. They will have an opportunity to grow professionally while impacting kids' lives."

When asked about his coaching and game style, he commented, "I'm a competitor. First steps are to recruit, develop, and then coach our guys to the best of their ability. One play, one time. Nothing is guaranteed in this world. All we can guarantee is the next play. If we can do that, we can take on anyone in the country. One play, one time will be built on the pillars of effort, attitude, technique, trust and confidence."

ECC Athletic Director Nate Forsyth is looking forward to adding Coach Kleinschrodt to the ECC staff. "I am very happy to have Mitchell joining the ECC family. He has a great background and knowledge of the game, and I am looking forward to him leading the football program for years to come. He will definitely be an asset to our campus and athletic program."