Hettinger native Shawn Frank hired as Jamestown College's head football coachJAMESTOWN — It didn’t take the coach in Shawn Frank long to come out Monday afternoon.
By: David Selvig, Forum Communications Co.
JAMESTOWN — It didn’t take the coach in Shawn Frank long to come out Monday afternoon.
Shortly after Jamestown College president Bob Badal handed Frank a ball, and the keys to the Jimmie football program, the new head coach said, “That was a pretty smooth handoff. And that’s something we’ll constantly be stressing: ball security.”
And with that, the Hettinger native was off and running as Jamestown College’s new head football coach. In his introductory press conference, Frank showed many of the traits he’s known for: emotion, passion, enthusiasm and frank-ness, excuse the pun.
“I wear my colors on my sleeves,” he said.
Frank is no stranger to the program. He’s been an assistant coach here since 2003 and has been the defensive and recruiting coordinator since 2008. He will continue to be in charge of the defense and is currently in the process of hiring an offensive coordinator.
He replaces Bud Etzold, who resigned last week after his second stint as head coach. The school also announced that Dan Smith had been hired as a full-time assistant coach. Smith was on staff this past season in a part-time role.
“I’m really excited and honored about this opportunity,” said Frank, who played football at the University of Mary, where he was a two-time all-North Dakota Collegiate Athletic Conference defensive back. “We have a lot of great things to sell here at Jamestown College and we’re going to make sure that our current players and our future players embrace that.”
Lawrie Paulson, the school’s athletic director, believes Frank will be successful.
“What you see with Shawn is what you get. He’s a passionate guy with a lot of energy and he’s going to bring that to his job every day,” Paulson said. “For us right now it’s important, I think, that the person in charge of the football program has those attributes and Shawn certainly does.”
The Jimmies went 3-7 this past fall, and have not had a winning season since 2008, though they have been competitive.
A degree of uncertainty continues to hang over the school as it heads into next season without a conference and as an NAIA independent. However, Paulson said scheduling for the next two seasons is actually falling into place pretty nicely and Frank is upbeat about the current recruiting class that is shaping up.
“We have a lot of talented kids on the board that have a sincere interest in becoming Jimmies,” Frank said. “Obviously this is kind of the vogue thing to say, but we’ve really put an emphasis on speed. If you don’t have speed, it’s going to be tough.”
They saw that up close and personal in the season finale when they lost to eventual NAIA national champion St. Francis (Ill.).
“That was motivation more than anything else because that’s where, ultimately, we want to be,” he said.
On the field, the Jimmies will continue to run the 3-4 defense and they return a number of starters.
There are more questions on the offensive side, most notably at quarterback and wide receiver. Frank said they would potentially like to incorporate some no-huddle offense and would like to “formation people to death,” but was quick to point out that, “most football games are won up front on both sides of the ball. We have to be physical and we will.”
But first things first, and that’s filling out his staff and attacking recruiting.
“We’re going to bring in someone that meshes with our current staff and shares the vision of what we want to be both on and off the field,” Frank said. “The tradition of this football program speaks for itself. We’re going to build on that and we’re going to do it the right way.”
Selvig is the sports editor of The Jamestown Sun, which is owned by Forum Communications Co.