BATESVILLE, Ark. (LyonScots.com) – A former member of the top NCAA Division III football programs in the past seven years, Mike DuFrane has been named defensive coordinator and linebackers coach of the Lyon College football program, according to Scots head coach Kirk Kelley.
DuFrane, 28, was the starting nose tackle for the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater championship team that claimed the Division III national title in 2007 and was the national runner-up in ‘08. He graduated from UW-W in 2009 with a Bachelor’s degree in Broadcast Journalism and then earned his Master’s degree in Educational Leadership at Carthage College in 2013.
“Coach DuFrane is a high energy guy,” Kelley said this week. Everyone we talked to about him commented about his motivational skills and his enthusiasm. The fact that he comes from one of the best small college programs in the country at Wisconsin-Whitewater is a huge plus for us.
“He understands the type of student-athlete that we need at Lyon and I think he will fit in perfectly here. He has a lot of experience coaching the defensive linemen, but will coach our linebackers here at Lyon.”
A native of Hortonville, Wis., DuFrane was a member of the Warhawks’ football program that has won five national titles in the last seven years, including the championship in ’07 when it posted a record of 14-1 and a Wisconsin Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (WIAC) mark of 7-0. The squad finished the year with a 13-game winning streak.
UW-W was national runner-up in 2008 with a 13-2 record, falling to Mount Union, 31-26, in the title game. It has also claimed national football championships in 2009, 2010, 2011 and 2013.
DuFrane was named Defensive Newcomer of the Year in the WIAC in 2007.
“I really learned a lot about how to develop as a teammate at UW-Whitewater,” DuFrane stated. “We had a real close-knit group there and it taught me how important it was to have a team concept.
“From our coaches, I learned to prepare and how to get ready for a game. Being prepared and ready for what’s coming up and making adjustments to situations that you face are so important. (Head) coach (Lance) Leipold instilled the concept of how to finish in our mind. He said it’s not only how you start, but how you finish, as well. So it’s those two concepts that I want to bring to the players at Lyon.”
DuFrane began his coaching career at University of Minnesota-Morris (NCAA DIII) as a defensive line coach in 2009, before moving to Carthage College (NCAA DIII) in Knosha, Wisconsin, as a linebackers graduate assistant and JV defensive coordinator in 2010-11. He served as the defensive line and strengthening and conditioning coaching/head JV coach for the Red Men in 2011-12.
After a short stint at NCAA Division III Loras College, he spent the past two seasons as the defensive line/co-strength and conditioning coordinator and fundraising coordinator for the past two seasons back at Carthage.
He said with a full class of freshmen coming into the Lyon program this fall, it will require patience by everyone involved as the Scots work toward their first intercollegiate game in late August of 2015.
“It’s definitely going to be a gradual process this year at Lyon,” DuFrane said. “I’m looking forward to taking the time to break down the defense and making sure the guys learn the base concepts. Then when 2015 comes around there will be no question how the players handle their situations when we start playing games.
“I want the players to get to the point where they’re doing it “with their eyes closed’. The extra time of preparation this year will be an awesome time for our guys as they develop, both as individuals and as a team.”
Unlike most programs who have returners coming back that are already familiar with the program, the Scots will have almost all freshmen this fall.
“I know there is going to be a learning curve,” he coach stated. “It’ll take some extra time because none of these guys have seen another collegiate program or been here before. But, in the same sense, it excites me because our players won’t have another college program to compare it to and they’ll be ‘buying in’ to what we’re teaching them.”
DuFrane said he is looking forward to being a part of Coach Kelley’s staff.
“Coach Kelley is a great guy and a great recruiter,” DuFrane added. “I couldn’t be happier to become a part of his staff and being a part of this program. He cares about his staff and about his players. I’ve seen what he’s done in the past in building the Lyon baseball program and where he has come with other staffs he has worked on. This is a great opportunity.
DuFrane is married. His wife’s name is Jillian, and they have a son, Jordy, age three, and a one-year old daughter, Reese.