Former Northeast Hamilton standout Nate Mechaelsen was named coach of the year by the Iowa Football Coaches Association.
Mechaelsen, a native of Blairsburg graduated from Northeast Hamilton in 2002 and joined the Iowa State football program after, led Underwood to the Class 1A state semifinals this past year.
The Eagles finished the season 11-1, including dominating playoff wins over Interstate 35, ACGC and Pella Christian. This was Underwood’s first appearance in the final four in 20 years and second trip in school history.
Mechaelsen led the Eagles to the quarterfinals in both 2020 and 2021, going a combined 30-3 over the past three seasons.
The other coaches of the year were Chad Edeker of WACO (eight-player), Mike Parkinson from Lynnville-Sully (A), Curt Ritchie from Williamsburg (2A), Lance Pedersen of Mount Vernon (3A), Mark Hoekstra of Carlisle (4A) and Brian Woodley from Johnston (5A).
Regional coach of the year honors were also handed out, with Brian Wilken of Newell-Fonda and Shane Rowlands from Southeast Warren named in eight-player. Mark Sanger of West Hancock and Duane Foster from Wapsie Valley were the A sections, Dan Anderson from MFL MarMac and Jared Jensen of Sigourney-Keota were named in 1A, and Curtis Eben of Central Lyon/George-Little Rock and Cody Hackett out of West Marshall were the 2A selections.
In 3A, Humboldt’s Derrick Elman and North Polk’s Tim Tebrink were named, while 4A saw Jim Tighe of Spencer, the son of legendary former St. Edmond and Webster City head coach Dick Tighe, selected along with Newton’s Andy Swedenhjelm. The 5A coaches named were Rusty VanWetzinga of Pleasant Valley and Eric Addy from Des Moines North.