CHICAGO, IL (November 21, 2013) — In his first year as head coach of the North Park University Vikings football team, Mike Conway became the first-ever coach in the school’s history to be named the College Conference of Illinois & Wisconsin (CCIW) Bob Reade Coach of the Year.
The conference announced the honor this week, and also named four Vikings to the All-CCIW team.
The CCIW is one of the toughest conferences in all of NCAA Division III sports, but Conway and his coaching staff set numerous records and made history. They broke a 13-year, 89-game conference losing streak with a 22-20 victory over Carthage College on Homecoming weekend in October. They defeated Augustana College 45-35 for their first victory ever in Rock Island and broke a 42-year losing streak against Millikin University with a 35-32 win.
North Park finished the 2013 season with a 3-7 record and a 3-4 mark in the CCIW, the best conference record for a North Park squad since the 1979 season.
“First of all, I consider it a privilege to be the football coach at North Park University. Just to coach in the CCIW is an honor itself,” Conway said. “We feel very honored to receive this, but this is a team award and it’s an award that our players, coaches, and administration should take pride in.”
Four players were named to the All-College Conference of Illinois and Wisconsin team for the 2013 season. Sophomore Dakota Conway (no relation to the coach) earned Offensive First Team All-CCIW honors, while junior Philip Pendleton and senior Bennett Dettlinger earned Defensive Second Team honors. Freshman quarterback T.D. Conway—the coach’s son—was an Offensive Second Team selection.
T.D. broke the single-season North Park record for passing yards and completions with 2,452 yards and 218 completions, which ranked him second in the conference in passing yards per game, averaging nearly 245 yards.
The Vikings offense ranked second in the CCIW.
“This was a character-building year for everyone involved,” Conway said. “We overcame some dramatic odds, records, and streaks this year, which very few people thought was possible. A lot of people questioned our chances of winning in this conference, and our success this season has given us a foundation to build on for the future. We accomplished some initial goals this season, and have learned that God honors those who work hard and battle through adversity. Our players and coaching staff have certainly done that.”