Niemann drives home academic approach

Niemann drives home academic approach

by Sara Sonderman

In the short amount of time Head Football Coach Jay Niemann has been around campus, his players have already noticed a number of changes.

“When we lift weights in the morning he is always there along with the rest of the staff. It used to be just coach [Myles] Easter,” said junior Jesse Von Behren.

Niemann was hired to replace Jim Williams after he retired following the 2001 season. Niemann comes to the Storm after spending five years as an assistant coach at the University of Northern Iowa.

Prior to his experience with UNI he spent eight seasons at Drake University as the defensive coordinator and secondary coach.

“I find similarities between Drake and Simpson because they are both private,” said Niemann. “You just get that same feeling of familiarity with people.”

One of Niemann’s top priorities is his student-athlete’s academics.

“What I stress first about Simpson is the education it offers. I am a firm believer that an athlete should first choose the school he is going to and then choose where they want to play football,” said Niemann.

“Coach Niemann is interested in developing the ‘whole’ student-athlete and making academics a priority,” said Head Volleyball Coach Lana Smith.

These past few months Niemann and his staff have been busy recruiting for next season.

“We have been eating lunch with the recruits and their parents and we have been taking them on every step of their visit,” said Niemann.

“The only bad thing about it is that I have not spent as much time with the team now that I would have liked to,” said Niemann. “But I have met all of them either at lunch or when they are lifting.”

“He focuses on the little things for us,” said junior Todd Samuels. “He has been around a lot so if we need to talk to him about anything we can.”