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Finlandia hires Mike DuFrane as new football head coach

Mike DuFrane

HANCOCK — Finlandia University has hired a head football coach who has experience playing and coaching around the Midwest in Wisconsin, Minnesota and Iowa, along with Arkansas.

Mike DuFrane was both defensive coordinator and strength coordinator at St. Scholastica in Duluth, Minnesota, in 2019. The Saints led all of NCAA Division III in fumble recoveries and was in the top 10 in two other defensive categories — turnovers and defensive touchdowns.

He coached a record-breaker in Eric Soderberg that year. Soderberg was All-Upper Midwest Athletic Conference and set school records in solo, assisted and total tackles in a season and was second nationally in total tackles.

“I’m extremely excited to lead the Finlandia University football program,” said DuFrane, who officially assumes duties at Finlandia today. “Finlandia presented a great opportunity to build a program that already had great facilities in place and a desire to win.”

DuFrane was a two-year starter at Wisconsin-Whitewater as a defensive tackle in 2007, when he was team defensive MVP, and 2008, helping the Warhawks win the D-3 national title his first year and a runner-up finish the second.

He began as a coach at Minnesota-Morris in 2009 as a defensive line coach and video coordinator, then was at Carthage in Kenosha, Wisconsin, for three years, at Dubuque, Iowa, College for a year, and at Lyon College, where he helped found the program in 2014-15.

Since then, he has been at Marietta, Ohio, and at St. Scholastica.

“I’m proud to welcome Mike to Finlandia,” athletic director Curtis Wittenberg said. “Mike’s credentials stood out among the candidates with his collegiate experience. He has an established record of being an outstanding recruiter and I know he will attract excellent student-athletes to Finlandia University. I believe Mike’s knowledge and experience will help Finlandia football to be successful as it heads into its first season in the Upper Midwest Athletic Conference.”

DuFrane has a bachelor’s degree in communications-broadcast from Wisconsin-Whitewater and master’s in educational leadership from Carthage.

Information compiled by Journal Sports Editor Steve Brownlee. His email address is sbrownlee@miningjournal.net.

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