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The Carletonian

Tom Journell Hired as New Head Football Coach

<e the resignation of Bob Pagel this past February, the Carleton athletic department has been on an extensive search to find a new head football coach. Following the evaluation of many qualified candidates, on April 23, Carleton officially named Tom Journell as the new head football coach. He is now the 18th head coach in the history of the Knights football program. Journell brings 31 years of coaching experience to the program, having most recently served as the head coach at University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point. During his six seasons at Stevens Point, Journell put up a 29-31 overall record.

Journell is very excited about his new role with the team and hopes to continue his past success at Stevens Point with the Knights football program. “We are very pleased that Tom Journell has agreed to lead the Knights football program,” Head Athletic Director Gerald Young said. “Coach Journell’s extensive football knowledge, combined with his comprehensive teaching approach, makes Tom a great fit for Carleton. He is committed to creating the best overall experience for our student-athletes, and I’m excited for what he can bring to the Carleton community.”

Journell has been passionate about football and mentoring his entire life. “I always knew I would be a teacher and coach, one of the few lucky ones who always knew their calling,” Journell explained. He is thankful for the immeasurable enjoyment the profession has brought him. In discussing his favorite aspects of being a football coach, Journell said, “seeing the maturation process (of players) after 4 years and then seeing them as productive citizens, husbands and fathers 20 years later. A close second is when we as a team buy into a process that promotes the goodness and richness of each other and demonstrates unwavering unselfishness which culminates into beating a team that no one expected you to beat.”

While there are many challenges that come with the role as head coach, Journell believes in embracing adversity and follows the mantra of “there are no such things as problems, only opportunities.”

Prior to accepting his new position at Carleton, Journell thoroughly enjoyed his time at Stevens Point and being involved in the school’s community. However, he has always strived to coach at the country’s most elite colleges. “Professionally, my goal has always been to teach and coach at the most elite, rigorous academic institution and where athletics are an important part of the college mission,” Journell expressed.

Additionally, from personal experience, Journell strongly believes in Carleton’s philosophy and values. “My wife and I are liberal arts products. We believe in lifelong learning, studying abroad, being well rounded, participating and being active in many organizations on campus, regularly attending convocation where we grow and stretch, thinking critically and contributing to a connected campus culture,” Journell said.

Despite the team’s talented players, the Carleton football program has struggled in achieving winning seasons, most recently having had a defeated season. While this is an intimidating reality for a new head coach to face, Journell has no intention of dwelling on the program’s past losing records. “We will focus on the process of getting better every day. If the process is correct and we have every one operating with ‘above the line’ behaviors, we need not worry about the results. These principles are all controllable,” Journell said.

As a person who has a natural talent for mentoring, Journell explained that he approaches coaching with the same mentality and energy he does teaching. “I strive to have Labrador-like enthusiasm every day. Student-athletes want to get better and want to know how to get better. Our job as coaches is to demonstrate we genuinely care and communicate effectively, giving them concrete, specific feedback,” Journell said.

Journell is a native of Eaton, Ohio. He and his wife, Betsy, have two sons, Mack and Tate. Mack is a student at Carleton and plays wide receiver for the Knights football team. While it is rare for a father to be coaching his son at the collegiate varsity level, Journell does not anticipate this being a problem and is excited to serve as Mack’s new coach.

“What I have recently learned can only affirm this. I treat all my student-athletes like my sons. In the past, I have been around my other 100 sons more than my two biologic. I have seen him [Mack] play twice in the last two years. I look forward to having a front row seat for the next two,” Journell said. The athletic department, football program and college are excited to see how Journell will fill this role and hopefully lead the Knights to future success. 

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