A three-sport athlete during his college career, he truly personifies the phrase “Once a Cobber, always a Cobber.” I had the chance to catch up with Coach Horan to ask him a few questions about his college experience, the Cobber football team and what makes Concordia so special.
Could you tell us about your time as a student-athlete at Concordia?
My time as a student-athlete here at Concordia was an amazing experience. I had a chance to play football (four years), basketball (one year) and baseball (three years). The mentors I had the luck to be around every single day – Jim Christopherson, Bob Nick, Sonny Gulsvig and Bucky Burgau – changed my life and for that I’m extremely grateful. These life experiences truly directed my decision to go into education and become a teacher and coach. I played on a lot of winning teams – very successful teams, but my true memories are the times with my teammates, my friends on and off the field. These memories will last a lifetime.
What is unique about the Cobber experience as a student-athlete?
I truly believe what’s unique about the Cobber experience as a student-athlete is that it’s an “experience” of a lifetime. Sports are a big deal here and they should be. We all want to be competitive and we all want to win, but what I truly admired the most was that none of us forgot that the “student” came before the “athlete.” This isn’t always the case at the higher levels of collegiate competition. I also had my degree in hand after four years while playing several sports in the process. This is something I’m very proud of.
Could you tell us about the Minnesota Intercollegiate Athletic Conference and what it takes for a team to be successful at the DIII level?
The MIAC football conference is extremely competitive and as a staff we need to really work hard in the recruiting process to bring in the quality of student-athletes that we feel can be successful here and continue to raise our bar at being one of the premier teams in the league. We need to have the mindset that we will outwork our opponents not only on the field but also as staff members off the field in putting our offense, defense, and special team units in favorable situations. I also feel your facility structure needs to rival the best and I’m proud of our administration in making that a priority. A few years ago, we put in the FieldTurf product for our playing surface, and then a few years later we increased our locker room space and designed a locker room that rivals any high-end Division I and Division II type locker room. Finally, adding the video board this past season has brought another dimension to our game day experience. This certainly helps our lifeblood as coaches, which is recruiting.
What is special about the Cobber football program?
Each and every day I get to work with the best coaches in the country, and I get to lead a bunch of young men that believe in me and our staff to make Concordia their home for four years – and because “Once a Cobber, always a Cobber” rings true, even well beyond your playing days and graduation. Nobody can take this away from you. I’m extremely honored and humbled every day that I’m the head football coach here at Concordia, and my goal is that we continue to mentor and lead our young men to be champions, not only on the football field but in life as well.
What advice would you give to a prospective student interested in not just Cobber football but any sport at Concordia?
It’s pretty easy for me to sell Concordia, as I have lived the experience not only as a student-athlete but now as a head coach. I will also say that our current athletic director, Rachel Bergeson, has enough competitive juices to make sure that each sport is competitive, and she will continue to push and lead our coaches to make a difference for each and every student-athlete we get the chance to coach. Rachel will also continue to push for our facilities to be the best that they can be too. My bottom-line advice to any prospective student and I’ll say it’s probably the best advice that I can give: come be a Cobber. You will receive an outstanding education, and you will be around amazing young men and women looking to make a difference – not only on their sporting teams but academically as well. Then you can go out into the real world and make a difference each and every day. You will never regret your decision to be a Cobber. Soli Deo Gloria!