MITCHELL, S.D. – Dakota Wesleyan University second-year head coach Ross Cimpl today was named the Great Plains Conference coach-of-the-year, and 14 of his athletes earned All-GPAC honors. This is the first coaching honor of Cimpl’s career, and it comes on the heels of one of the top three seasons in DWU football history. The Tigers finished the season 8-3 overall and ranked No. 20 in the NAIA.
Headlining the Tigers’ All-GPAC selections this season were Francois Barnaud and Anthony Muilenburg who both earned All-GPAC First Team Offense Honors, and Brady Bonte was named to the first team defense. Offensive linemen Jake Verry and Kyle Hencke both earned All-GPAC Second Team Honors and defensive lineman Eric Gruis and safety Matt McManus were named to the second team defense. Also Jon Bane, Eric Witte,Anthony Cervantes, Tanner Munk, Matt Tuttle, Skyler Eriksen and Jeff Maassen earned honorable mention.
Barnaud earns the first GPAC honor of his career after a breakout junior season. The Belle Fourche, S.D. native led the NAIA in rushing and set the school record for rushing yards in a season. He finished the season first in the nation with 1,893 rushing yards.
This marks the seventh GPAC honor in five seasons for Muilenburg, who returned to the Tigers after missing the 2012 season with an injury. Muilenburg, a Sioux Falls native,set the school record with 251 receiving yards in a game against Northwestern and the career receptions record with 225.
Bonte, a sophomore linebacker from Garretson, S.D. was named first team defense after leading the DWU defense all season. He finished eighth in the conference with 8.1 tackles per game and led the team with 88 total tackles. He finished eighth in the NAIA with 20 tackles for a loss of 100 yards and nine sacks.