McCarty will be just the fifth head coach in the program’s history since 1960, moving into the role after serving the last 11 years as the team’s defensive coordinator. He also was the team’s assistant head coach since 2012.
“I am excited to announce the appointment of Matt McCarty as Red Raider football’s new head football coach,” commented Northwestern Athletic Director Earl Woudstra. “Matt has proven an exceptional ability to recruit, motivate and coach young men as our defensive coordinator. We believe Matt is equipped to provide the vision and direction for the Red Raider football program that strives to reflect Northwestern College’s mission to be a distinctively Christian college that faithfully and courageously pursues God’s redeeming work in the world. We look forward to his leadership of his players as they pursue excellence on the field, as student-athletes and as God-honoring men.”
The Red Raider defense has flourished into one of the NAIA’s best under McCarty’s direction, ranking in the nation’s top 15 in scoring defense all but one season. McCarty’s defense was tops in the NAIA in both scoring and total yards in 2014 and the unit was second in scoring in 2008, giving up 11 points per game. Noted for getting pressure on the quarterback, Northwestern has ranked in the top five in sacks six times during McCarty’s tenure, and his 2012 defense set the GPAC record with 44 sacks.
“As someone who has been a part of Red Raider football as a player or coach for 15 of the last 16 years, I am humbled, honored and extremely excited to serve as the leader of this program,” commented McCarty. “Red Raider football has an outstanding tradition of excellence that began with Coach Korver. We will not rest on this but strive to build on it and to leave Red Raider football better than when we found it.”
McCarty has twice been named a finalist for the NAIA Assistant Coach of the Year (2014-15) while at Northwestern. Seventeen players have earned All-American honors under McCarty and four were named the GPAC Defensive Player of the Year (Nate Jansen, Jordan Carlson, Greg Hegstad and Sam Van Ginkel). Prior to being named defensive coordinator in 2005, McCarty served as an assistant football coach at Okoboji High School.
“Our goal will be to develop outstanding young men who will positively impact God’s kingdom. We are going to pursue excellence every single day in everything we do. We are going to build a championship culture by focusing on the process—by being our best and maximizing each day,” said McCarty.
McCarty was a standout defensive back for four years (2000-03) for Northwestern College, where he earned NAIA All-American honors in 2003 and helped lead his team to the playoffs two years. He is tied for seventh all-time at Northwestern with 15 career interceptions.
“I am excited to work with an outstanding group of young men. We have a very talented group, but what is even more exciting is the great group of men we have to work with. We will focus on glorifying God by pursuing excellence in everything we do.”