Four Downs

6 October 2018
Football coach Tom Journell
Football coach Tom Journell | Photo: Sara Rubinstein ’98

Hired last spring, head football coach Tom Journell had about two weeks to learn his players’ names before the end of spring term. Almost immediately after that, he hit the road—from New England to California and everywhere in between—to start recruiting. We spoke recently with Journell about the new season.

You were coaching at the University of Wisconsin in Stevens Point. What drew you to Carleton?

Three years ago, our family went on a series of college visits with my son Mack [Class of ’21]. We saw 12 or 13 different schools, and ultimately he chose Carleton because this was the liberal arts education he wanted. It’s been a great fit. He called me last spring and said, “Dad, remember my college road trip? Remember how you said, ‘Wouldn’t it be neat to be a head coach at one of these colleges?’ Well, how about coming to Carleton?” The more I looked into it, the more I saw that Carleton is a good fit for me, as well.

What’s your best pitch for a prospective student?

Carleton represents everything I believe in as a scholar and a coach. There’s no reason Carleton can’t be the Northwestern or Stanford of Division III. We’re not going to compromise our academic integrity, but we’re also not going to use academics as an excuse for why we can’t be successful on the field. That motivates me every morning—to find the kids who want to challenge themselves in the classroom, win a championship, and change the world.

What have your early outreach efforts looked like?

I met a lot of football alumni at Reunion this year. All I’ve heard from alumni so far is, “How can we help?” We’re starting the Four Plus Forty program, which sets up our students with former Carleton football players who can help them with internships, externships, career advice—whatever they need to get comfortable in the next four years through forty years.

Will it be a challenge to coach your son Mack, a wide receiver on the team?

I’ve told all my teams, “I have 100 sons here”—and that’s how I treat them. My goal is to motivate, mentor, and inspire. It just so happens that my biological son will be in the group this time. I haven’t coached him before, so I don’t know how it’ll go, but I expect it will be special.

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