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Phil Kleckler -- 2020 FootballScoop NAIA Coordinator of the Year

Kleckler's defense finished sixth nationally in scoring defense in helping Lindsey Wilson College (Ky.) win its first NAIA title.

FootballScoop is proud to announce that Phil Kleckler the 2020 FootballScoop NAIA Coordinator of the Year presented by AstroTurf as selected by prior winners.

Lindsey Wilson's national championship came in dominant fashion. When you finish 11-0 and win the national title game by 32 points, clearly you're more than proficient on both sides of the ball.

But it was the improvement of Kleckler's defense that allowed Lindsey Wilson to celebrate its first national title this May. 

After allowing 18.3 points per game in 2019, including 34 in their NAIA semifinal loss to Marian (Ind.), Klecker's defense reduced their scoring average to 14.4 points this spring, including four games where the opponent scored 10 points or less. 

The Blue Raiders finished sixth in NAIA in scoring defense.

Lindsey Wilson won games by mauling opponents at the line of scrimmage. Opponents managed just 2.4 yards per carry and 84 per game (eighth nationally) while mustering just six rushing touchdowns on 379 attempts over 11 games. Lindsey Wilson also notched 33.5 sacks over their 11 games, tying for 16th in the nation. 

Lindsey Wilson limited Northwestern (Iowa) to 74 rushing yards on 32 attempts, less than half their season average. 

Kleckler's unit was also proficient against the pass. Opponents hoisted 387 passes, completing 235 for 2,427 yards (6.27 per attempt) with 14 touchdowns against 12 interceptions. 

Junior linebacker Luke Bowman was named an honorable mention NAIA-AFCA All-American and a First Team All-Mid-South Conference Bluegrass Division. He was joined on the All-MSC first team by defensive lineman Cameron Thurman and defensive back Robert Carter, while linebacker Peyton Doles made the All-MSC second team. 


Kleckler's four years in the program have coincided with the most successful run in LWC history. Prior to winning the 2020 title, the 2019 squad set the school record with 12 victories. His 2018 unit set school records for points, yards and passing yards allowed, and the 2017 team won 11 games and reached the NAIA quarterfinals. 

A Monmouth (Ill.) graduate, Kleckler started coaching in 2007 at Averett University. He spent three seasons there and three more at Occidental College before arriving at Benedictine University, where he coached from 2011-16, including the 2015-16 seasons as defensive and recruiting coordinator. 

The FootballScoop Coaches of the Year awards presented by AstroTurf are the only set of awards that recognize the most outstanding position coaches in college football. The finalists (Josh Davis [Northwestern], Mike Famigletti [Kansas Wesleyan], Eric Kelly [Bethel], Aaron Mingo [Dordt], Tyrone Pettaway [Southeastern], Mike Ridings [Keiser] and Kleckler) were selected based off of nominations by coaches, athletic directors, and athletic department personnel. The prior winners selected this year's winner.

Previous winners of the NAIA Coordinator of the Year award are Joe Woodley (Grand View [Iowa], 2013), Ken Fasnacht (Southern Oregon, 2014), Scott Power (Marian [Ind.], 2015), Joey Didier and Eric Wagoner (Saint Francis [Ind.], 2016), Patrick Donley and Trevor Miller (Saint Francis [Ind.], 2017), Lucas Lueders (Morningside [Iowa], 2018), and Casey Jacobsen and Nathan Turner (Morningside [Iowa], 2019). 


6th Nationally - Scoring Defense

16th Nationally - Sacks Per Game

8th Nationally - Rushing Defense

1st National Championship


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