Bethany College announces the hiring of Steve Tapley as offensive line coach and special teams coordinator, Jarrod Wirt as defensive coordinator, and Michael Starkey as defensive line coach for football.
"The moment I accepted this opportunity at Bethany College I had a 'short list' of championship-caliber coaches that I wanted to put together to help in building this football program," says new Head Football Coach Manny Matsakis. "It was imperative that these men were of high integrity and aligned with our mission at Bethany College. Upon deciding to hire these men, each of them immediately accepted this opportunity with a passion and energy second to none. I am excited to introduce Steve, Jarrod, and Michael to our players and the Lindsborg community."
Tapley returns to his alma mater with coaching experience at the high school, collegiate, and semi-professional levels.
"I am really excited to come back to Bethany College and be reunited with Coach Matsakis," says Tapley. "His vision for our program is one that will unite the Swede nation for success in the future, and I am happy to be a part of this renaissance."
A 2006 graduate of Bethany College, Tapley began his coaching career at Royal Valley High School as the offensive and defensive line coach. As an assistant at Bethany College he was the linebacker coach for the 2004 team that ranked in the top 25 in several categories. In 2005, Tapley coached the offensive line for the Swedes. In 2009 he joined the semi-professional Carolina Eagles as the offensive line coach and helped guide them to a second place finish in the Central Carolina Football League. Tapley joined the Topeka West High School staff in 2011 as defensive coordinator. In 2012 he coached linebackers, offensive line and was the special teams coordinator for Kestrel Heights School in Durham, N.C. A native of Holton, Kan., Tapley played offensive line and linebacker at Holton High School. He was recruited by Coach Matsakis and played under him and Jerry Kill as a linebacker at Emporia State University.
Wirt has been coaching for nine seasons with the Carroll College Saints football program in the Frontier Conference. Prior to coaching, Wirt played four years as a standout defensive back for the Saints from 2000 to 2004. He started 27 games during his final two years at Carroll College. As a player, the Saints won four Frontier Conference Championships and two NAIA National Championships.
For the past nine years, Wirt has coached on the defensive side of the football as well as special teams. The Saints won eight more Frontier Conference Championships and four National Championships during his coaching career at Carroll College. Wirt has coached five All-Americans, ten Academic All-Americans and 18 All-Conference players over the past seven years. He has also coached three William V. Campbell Trophy (Academic Heisman) honorees, two of which made semi-finals.
"I am honored and excited to take this position at Bethany College," says Wirt. "I want to bring my passion to this program and continue a strong tradition that this school has created."
Wirt is a native of Havre, Mont., where he was an All-State athlete for the Havre Blue Ponies. Wirt graduated from Carroll College in 2005 with a Bachelor of Arts in secondary education with a biology major and chemistry minor.
Starkey coached the 2012 season at Southern Oregon University in the Frontier Conference. After concluding the 2012 season, Southern Oregon had compiled a 9-3 record, earned a Frontier Conference Championship, and ranked fifth in the country after finishing their season with an appearance in the NAIA National Quarterfinals.
Starkey coached one All-Conference player while at Southern Oregon. He spent the four previous seasons at Delta State University as an assistant coach, which included three Gulf South Conference Championships and appearances in the Division II National Championship, National Semifinals, and National Quarterfinals.
Starkey is a native of Southaven, Miss., where he graduated from Southaven High School. He graduated from Delta State University in 2010 with a bachelor's degree in education with a physical education major and an English minor.
"I'm very excited about this opportunity to join the staff at Bethany College and be a part of the Swede family," says Starkey. "I look forward to helping build upon the tradition of excellence at Bethany College."
Wirt and Starkey will begin their first seasons with Bethany College on March 25 and Tapley will begin on April 1.