Penner, who recently completed his fourth season as offensive coordinator at Malone University (Ohio), has also served as Malone’s assistant head coach and recruiting coordinator. He has 16 years of college football coaching experience and has spent time at Northwestern College (Iowa), Trinity International (Illinois), Greenville (Illinois), and Pacific Lutheran (Washington).
“Through the interview process, we were impressed by Joel’s football knowledge and his ability to build up the programs he has been a part of,” said Bouma. “He has exhibited fine character and is committed to continuing to build a Christ-centered program at Dordt College that will challenge those involved with it athletically, academically, and spiritually.”
Dordt College President Dr. Erik Hoekstra says the college is pleased to welcome Coach Penner to his new role. “He clearly understands Dordt’s vision, and he shares our commitment to the integration of faith and learning in all that we do,” Hoekstra said.
Under Penner’s guidance, the Malone offense doubled in production over Penner’s first two years on the staff in 2012 and 2013. In 2013, the Pioneers averaged nearly 30 points and 400 yards of offense per game while also leading the GLIAC in red zone touchdown percentage. Penner was a part of a coaching staff that transitioned Malone from NAIA membership to NCAA Division II status.
While at Northwestern from 2009-2011, Penner coached an offense that averaged over 36 points and 420 yards per game during the 2011 season. In addition to crafting a strong Red Raider passing attack, he also developed a spread option ground game that was ranked third in the nation in 2010 with an average of 283 yards per contest. During Penner’s three years at Northwestern, 21 offensive players earned all-conference honors and four players were named NAIA All-Americans.
“I am absolutely thrilled to be Dordt’s head football coach. I believe that God has given me the right mix of experiences and skills, passion for the game, leadership qualities, and passion to spearhead this program,” Penner said. “As I looked for a head coaching opportunity, I was looking for an institution that matched my values and also embodied excellence. Through this process I was overwhelmed by the high level of competency and sense of community at Dordt. With that kind of environment and support, I believe the Dordt football program will become an industry standard.”
Penner earned a bachelor’s degree in sports and wellness management and a master’s degree in Christian studies from Trinity International (IL) University. He and his wife, Emily, have one daughter, Ella, and two sons, Jacob and Caleb.