BEMIDJI -- For the past 11 seasons, Bryan Stoffel has had the best seat in the house to watch Bemidji High School football. And now he’s in the driver’s seat.
“I’ve had a front-row seat seeing our program develop and grow from when we started to now,” said Stoffel, who was named the team’s 18th all-time head coach on Wednesday. “I take a lot of personal responsibility in continuing the path that we’ve done. The reason I wanted to have this position is that I enjoy Lumberjack football, I have a passion for it and I’m excited for the future.”
Stoffel joined the program as an assistant in 2009, the same year that former head coach Troy Hendricks returned for his second stint. Stoffel became the offensive coordinator in 2010 and held the position through a 2019 season in which BHS scored 32.2 points per game, ranking ninth in Class 5A.
And with a large number of skill players returning, Stoffel is excited to see what the offense can do this fall.
“I would say we’ve had as much talent as we’ve ever had on that side of the ball,” he said, “That comes with some big expectations. … We’ll continue to do what we’ve done. I think it’s been a solid staple of ours for a number of years -- that is, the triple-option. I don’t see us changing a ton of our core.”
However, the defensive unit excites him, too. They ranked 10th in 2019 by allowing just 15.1 points per game.
“We’ve got plenty of playmakers back on (defense) that we’re really excited about,” Stoffel said. “I see them contributing to that Lumberjack style of defense, which is flying to the football and being tough, physical kids.”
Stoffel, a 1998 graduate of Humboldt High School in St. Paul, was also stationed on the Bemidji State offensive line from 2000-03. And now he’s leading a program of his own.
“It always comes back to having a culture that kids want to be a part of,” Stoffel said. “The big thing is providing an exciting time for kids to enjoy football, and giving them some memories, giving them a championship experience as far as football in our community.”
Stoffel was also quick to acknowledge Hendricks for his work from the sidelines, which included section championships in 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2014 and 2018.
“I just wanted to take a chance to thank Troy for his leadership of the program for the past 10 years,” Stoffel said. “I’ve been very fortunate to have a front-row seat to see how a championship program is run.”