Contributed by Joe Gladziszewski on 01/14/2014
Ithaca College football head coach Mike Welch will lead the American Football Coaches Association in 2014 as president of the organization. Welch, who moves up from first vice-president of the Association, succeeds outgoing president Mack Brown of the University of Texas. Welch was elected president by members attending the Association's 2014 convention this week in Indianapolis. He is just the eighth coach from a Division III program to hold the prestigious office of the national association.
"I am so excited and very proud to be named President of the American Football Coaches Association. It feels like it wasn't long ago that I attended my first national convention as a young coach in Miami, Florida. Now, to be given this important role within this great organization is truly an honor," Welch said. "I am looking forward to working with our Executive Director, Grant Teaff, and other members of the organization to continue the great work they have done over these many years. The game of football means so much to this country. We have come so far in giving players at all levels the opportunity to play the game and learn the important lessons in life. This has been the vision of the AFCA and I look forward to contributing to it in my new role."
In addition to Welch, 2014 AFCA officers include first vice-president Tommy Tuberville of the University of Cincinnati; second vice-president Todd Berry of the University of Lousiana-Monroe and third vice-president Lee Owens of Ashland University.
Also serving on the Board in 2014: Bill Cronin, Georgetown College (Ky.); Frank Solich, Ohio University; Mike Riley, Oregon State University; Gary Patterson, TCU; David Bailiff, Rice University; Mark Richt, University of Georgia; Pete Fredenburg, University of Mary Hardin-Baylor; Pat Fitzgerald, Northwestern Univeristy; Craig Bohl, University of Wyoming; Bobby Kennedy, University of Iowa, ex officio member and chairman of the Assistant Coaches Committee; Dino Babers, Bowling Green State University, ex officio member and chairman of the Minority Issues Committee; and Sam Knopik, The Pembroke Hill School (Mo.), ex officio and chairman of the High School Program Committee. Turner Gill, Liberty University; David Cutcliffe, Duke University; and Dale Lennon, Southern Illinois University are newly-elected members of the Board this year. AFCA Executive Director Grant Teaff serves as secretary-treasurer of the organization.
Welch has been at the helm of the Ithaca College football program since 1994 and has seen the Bombers through some of the program's best years.
In 1994, Welch took over the head coaching position at Ithaca after Jim Butterfield and completed one of the best seasons for a rookie head coach in college history, winning 10 games and taking the Bombers to the NCAA Division III semifinals.
Welch has continued that winning tradition ever since, keeping Ithaca in-step as one of Division III's winningest programs. From 1994 to 2010, Welch's teams chalked up 17 consecutive winning seasons and the Bombers have enjoyed 19 winning seasons overall.
His tenure at Ithaca College has been marked with consistency in winning and in making the playoffs. Under Welch's guidance, the Bombers have won six Empire 8 conference titles, including one this past season on the heels of a 9-3 season and a trip to the second round of the NCAA Division III playoffs.
Welch holds an overall record of 153-63 as the Ithaca head coach. He reached 150 career wins with a win over St. John Fisher during the 2013 season and was named Empire 8 and AFCA Region 1 Coach of the Year.