Coaching Connections at Cal Lutheran

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The California Lutheran University football team has a strong tradition of winning and molding successful people. It all started when National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics Hall of Fame football coach Bob Shoup founded the team in 1962 and eight years later went on to win the NAIA National Championship.

According to an ESPN.com article, in his 28 years of coaching 186 of Shoup’s players went on to coach football at some level, such as the Dallas Cowboys defensive coordinator Rob Marinelli, assistant head coach for Utah State Mark Weber, special teams coordinator for Stanford University Pete Alamar and current defensive backs/defensive coordinator for Cal Lutheran Scott Beattie.

When Shoup stepped down he continued to be a mentor to the players and coaches at Cal Lutheran. He currently still does this and it has had a huge impact on the football program.

“His ability to teach more than sports, including leadership skills, set the foundation for many others to follow,” Cal Lutheran Athletic Director Daniel Kuntz said in an email interview.

All-SCIAC safety Corey Undlin, who after his playing career at Cal Lutheran from 1990-1994 began coaching at Cal Lutheran serving as a linebackers coach from 1998-1999 and the defensive coordinator from 2000-2001. He then coached at the Division I level at Fresno State from 2002-2003 serving as a graduate assistant. Eventually Undlin made it up to the NFL where in 2004 he was a part of the Super Bowl winning New England Patriots as a defensive assistant.

After the 2004 season with the Patriots, Undlin continued to climb up the NFL rankings where he spent three years (2005-2008) under the Cleveland Browns organization as a defensive quality control coach, an assistant special team’s coordinator and defensive backs coach.

In 2009 he became the Jacksonville Jaguars defensive assistant and in the 2010-2011 campaign he became the head defensive backs coach. The very next year Undlin became the Denver Broncos defensive quality control coach and in the 2013-2014 season he reached the Super Bowl again, only this time serving as the head defensive backs coach.

On Jan. 19 Undlin was signed by the Philadelphia Eagles to serve as their defensive backs coach after having so much success in Denver.

“Cory has learned from some great coaches during his career, and he is a guy that learns from everyone he works with.  He’s worked for Bill Belichick, Romeo Crennel, John Fox and Jack Del Rio. He understands the game and is able to communicate and relate with his players,” Kingsmen football head coach Ben McEnroe said. “They will be successful in Philadelphia and Cory will get the most out of the guys he has, that is guaranteed.”

McEnroe played one year with Undlin. He was a part of the 1993 coaching staff when Undlin was a senior and he also coached with him for one year from 1998-99.

“The fact that we were mentored by great coaches in our time here has helped breed a successful line of coaches.  Our guys know how to work hard. They are grinders, which is a big part of coaching. Couple that with our exposure to playing for coaches that had a passion for the game, were outstanding teachers, and it develops into part of the culture,” McEnroe said.

Even more Cal Lutheran ties came about in last year’s Big Ten football championship game between Wisconsin and Ohio State where Cal Lutheran ex-teammates Tom Herman, who was the Ohio State offensive coordinator at the time and is now the head football coach for the University of Houston and Dave Aranda who is the defensive coordinator for Wisconsin faced off against each other.

Ultimately Herman got the better of Aranda’s defense and Ohio State pulled out the victory.  Herman and Aranda were a part of Cal Lutheran’s first SCIAC championship in 1997 under head coach Scott Squires.

According to an ESPN.com article, Aranda started his coaching career early due to a series of injuries and was a graduate assistant for Cal Lutheran from 1996-98. Ever since then his coaching voyage took off landing him in places such as Texas Tech, Houston University, Delta State, Southern Utah, Hawaii, Utah State and now Wisconsin.

“They learned how to pursue their passions more than their professions while at CLU,” Kuntz said.

According to an ESPN.com article, Herman takes motivational cues from Squires that kept him going at the time he was playing for him to this day.

“Both of them are just really smart guys,” Squires said in an ESPN.com article. “Tom could be running a major corporation if he wanted to, but they wanted to coach.”

To this day, guys who once played football in a Kingsmen uniform continuously come and show their support every Saturday when they find the chance to and they try to teach and mentor the young adults on the team about life on and off the football field.

“They lived in the dorms, ate in the old café, sat in the chicken coops and had a lot of the same experiences the people reading this article had. I want them around. Our staff can benefit from their experiences and we have unbelievable access to some of the great minds in the game,” McEnroe said.  “It is incredible the access we have because we’re all Kingsmen.  CLU really is special in that regard, I love coaching here and these relationships are a big reason why.”

 

Randall Shumpert
Senior Writer
Published February 4th, 2015