Alumnus, Jeter returns to bring Storm to ’96-’97 days


by Brock Borgeson, Sports Editor

Leadership, trust, family and toughness were main things newly hired head football coach Matt Jeter emphasized in Hubbell Hall at Simpson College Tuesday in his introductory press conference.

Jeter addressed Storm football players, coaches and Simpson administrative staff with a concise and spirited message that seems to be indicative of the 33rd Simpson football head coach’s approach to the new position.

“Coach Jeter laid out our goals and standards for us in a very clear and concise manner,” sophomore offensive lineman Dustin Ihns said. “There is no confusion on what is expected of a Simpson football player.”

Jeter went 22-2 as a defensive back between 1996-97 at Simpson College and never lost a regular season game before graduating from Simpson with a physical education degree in 1998.

“It’s good to be home,” Jeter said. “Coming back to your alma mater is a big deal. There is obviously a lot of tradition here at Simpson College. I feel confident that we are going to revive that tradition to get back to the days of ‘96 and ‘97.”

This is Jeter’s first head coaching position at the collegiate level after serving in a variety of assistant roles at Drake University and Central Missouri University.

The transition is quick but one that Jeter has wanted since getting into coaching.

“It’s a little overwhelming at first,” Jeter said. “The big thing now is that I need to realize that I’ve been preparing for this my whole life, and now I’m the head coach. So now I have to make those tough decisions and stand by them.”

Junior defensive back Patrick Steffen shares the understanding of having played the same position at the same school as Jeter, a unique bond and one that will have to be fused over one year.

In Warrensburg, Missouri at CMU, Jeter helped generate 59 turnovers over the past two seasons, and will look to use players like Steffen to jolt a Simpson team that is 7-13 over the past two years.

“His coaching style is going to come from how he played when he was a defensive back at Simpson,” Steffen said. “He wants to play tough, aggressive and detailed. He wants to lead us in the right direction so we can get this program back on the winning track.”

Before serving as defensive coordinator, special teams coordinator and defensive backs coach at CMU, Jeter worked as a recruiting coordinator with Drake during his stint in Des Moines from 2002-09.

Finding the balance between recruiting and evaluating talent is key for Jeter in the crash-course offseason that has about a month of spring practices remaining.

“The biggest thing for me right now is to solidify those recruits that we have and those guys that are on the fence,” Jeter said. “With the remaining practices, I just want to evaluate those guys on the field and find out who our leaders are going to be.”

As a Des Moines Roosevelt graduate and previous assistant coach at Des Moines Lincoln, Jeter will have ties in the backyard of Des Moines to recruit but will likely continue to ongoing effort for Simpson football to extend its recruiting to western states and Florida.

For the players, it will be about adjusting to a new coach yet again after offensive coordinator role left vacant by Joe Beschorner was filled by Jeff Judge after the 2014 season. In total, five coaches in a number of roles have either changed roles or left during the last three years.

“It has been interesting to say the least,” Steffen said. “I would say it has brought us closer as a team and especially the senior class. We have to rely on ourselves more and play for each other.”

Matt Jeter Profile

Coaching Profile:

Simpson College: April 1, 2016 — Present, Head Coach

University of Central Missouri:

2011-15, Defensive Coordinator

2010, Special Teams Coordinator, Defensive Backs

Drake University: 2002-09, Defensive Backs/Recruiting Coordinator

Des Moines Lincoln HS: 1998, Assistant Coach

Playing Experience:

Simpson College: 1996-97

Defensive Back

Went 22-2 at Simpson

Captain in the national semifinalist team in 1997

Iowa Central Community College: 1994-95