Same face, new place: Jeff Judge joins Storm football for second time


by Brock Borgeson, Sports Editor

Growing up literally in the shadows of Jack Trice stadium on a cornfield that had echoes of thousands of fans cheering on fall Saturdays, football has always been in Jeff Judge’s blood.

This innate love for the game took Judge on a stop at Simpson in the late 90s, and three states, three Division III conferences and 16 years later, Jeff Judge is back on the Simpson College coaching staff, this time as the offensive coordinator.

Judge was the defensive coordinator of the Storm football team that won back-to-back Iowa Intercollegiate Athletic Conference titles between 1996-97, including an NCAA semifinals loss to Mount Union in ’97.

Despite the success at Simpson, Judge didn’t imagine landing back in Indianola after leaving in 1999, but sometimes, you can’t get away from home, as is the case for Judge, who is a Gilbert, Iowa native and Iowa State University grad.

“Not when I left initially did I imagine coming back,” Judge said. “I had a great experience at Simpson the first time I was here and we had a lot of success and I enjoyed that experience, but I wanted to become a head football coach and I felt that I had to expand my experiences.”

Expand his experience and become a head coach Judge did, expecting then head coach Jim Williams to never retire.

Judge went on to spend three years with UW-Stevens Point, one as a defensive coordinator and two as an offensive coordinator, before getting his wish at Anderson University in Anderson, Indiana. He spent 2003-11 as head coach of the Ravens, leading Division III in passing yards in 2003.

“When I went to Anderson we had a returning senior quarterback who had an outstanding senior year and I was not really familiar with the spread offense,” Judge said. “I felt it was smarter for me to learn the offense he was comfortable in than make him comfortable in the offense I was.”

In the offseason Judge met with a variety of coaches, including the controversial Mike Leach, learning above all to see the talent on hand, then tailor the playbook to it.

Quarterback Caleb Frye has stated that the offense has been more oriented around the no-huddle, looking to speed up the defense, but Judge hasn’t implemented an overall style shift to the offense.

“We have some system changes; we are trying to work on going really fast,” Connealy said. “It’s different weekly. Some weeks we like to go in there with the mindset that we are going to control the clock and the running game and some weeks we like to no huddle and speed up the game and spread teams out and go.”

“I knew there would be some high spots and some low spots in regards to the new offense,” head coach Jim Glogowski said. “Technically what we are doing is not a whole lot different though.”

Some things have drastically changed at Simpson, especially since Judge left Indianola in ’99.

“The school has changed a lot,” Judge said. “It was much smaller back then…but the biggest change for me is probably the facilities. Our weight room used to be where the baseball batting area was. The practice fields were not nearly as manicured as they’re now. After the first day we wore off the weeds and we were able to practice there.”

The size of Simpson isn’t the only thing that has grown since Judge’s first stint with Simpson.

This year alone, the Storm football team had over $2,500 spent on chocolate milk to help refuel players. In the late 90s, Judge had between $2,000 and $2,500 to work with for recruiting.

While there is no real way to prove if the chocolate milk investment has any effect on the play on the field, stats have shown that the Storm have started off slow offensively this season.

Simpson is last in the IIAC in total offense at 278.3 yards per game, with stingy defenses and a new quarterback situation being worked through in the first few games, but the Storm hope this gives way against Buena Vista this Saturday – a team that is second to last in the IIAC in total defense, allowing 439.7 yards per game.