Head Coach - 4th Season
The Rams are on the rise under Vince Brautigam (pronounced BRAUGH-tee-gum), introduced as Cornell College's 14th head football coach on Dec. 7, 2009.
Brautigam, a native of Covington, Ky., enters his fourth year on the Hilltop after guiding the 2012 Rams to a 4-6 record, matching the most wins in a season since 2003. The team finished 4-5 in the Midwest Conference, marking the most league wins by the Rams since 2001.
The 2012 team competed with the best in the MWC, taking conference co-champions St. Norbert (20-16) and Lake Forest (35-30) down to the wire in tight losses. The Rams ranked 13th in NCAA Division III in punt returns (14.3 ypr) and 20th in passing offense (306.4 ypg).
Brautigam looks to continue momentum in 2013, bringing back four all-conference players, several multi-year starters and 50 total letterwinners. The team roster has grown to the mid-80s, the largest at Cornell in many years.
Brautigam's program has made great strides since a winless initial campaign in 2010. A young 2011 squad finished 3-7 and had 15 freshmen and sophomores start in the season finale. The team fielded two all-conference performers, including All-American linebacker Tyler Bailey.
Brautigam is no stranger rebuilding, directing a successful eight-year turnaround at the University of Dubuque from 2001-08. While at Dubuque, Brautigam led the Spartans to their first back-to-back winning seasons in nearly three decades and an NCAA Division III ranking in 2007.
Brautigam has 24 years of coaching experience at the NAIA, NCAA Division II and Division III levels, including 22 seasons as a head coach during which he's compiled a 97-128 record. He held head positions at Dubuque (2001-08) and NAIA's Mount Senario College (1990-2000) and was an assistant at Division II's St. Cloud State University (1988-89).
Brautigam's teams have claimed nine conference championships, eight of them at Mount Senario. In all three of his previous stops, Brautigam's squads reached top-25 status nationally in their respective polls.
"We entered this process searching for an individual who could sell, motivate and lead," Cornell Director of Athletics John Cochrane said. "Vince Brautigam brings years of collegiate head coaching experience and demonstrated consistent success in his ability to effectively recruit and retain student-athletes at the levels necessary to build and sustain quality programs. He is passionately committed to the individual development of young men and understands what it takes to compete and win in the Iowa Conference.
"I am excited to bring Vince's energy, expertise and work ethic to our football program. I believe he is exactly the right person to lead us forward."
Brautigam revamped a struggling Dubuque program, where he inherited 21 student-athletes in his initial year. With an emphasis on recruiting numbers, the Spartans' roster grew exponentially with 110-plus players in each of his final six seasons. Brautigam started the program's first junior varsity program and also organized the team's first strength and conditioning program.
Brautigam's 2006 squad finished 6-4 and snapped a 19-year losing streak. The Spartans followed that up with a 7-3 record in 2007. It marked the program's first consecutive winning seasons since 1979-80. Dubuque established 47 school records and fielded 36 all-conference players, nine all-region selections, two all-Americans and two Aztec Bowl participants under Brautigam. He mentored 15 academic all-conference players and four ESPN The Magazine Academic All-District performers.
Brautigam rebuilt a Mount Senario program that had only 19 players on the team upon his arrival. His roster quickly expanded to more than 100 players in each of his last eight seasons in Ladysmith, Wis. Brautigam, who also served as Mount Senario's director of athletics, left the program as its winningest football coach with a 68-47 mark. He led the Fighting Saints to a school-record eight conference championships in 11 seasons.
Brautigam, a four-time Upper Midwest Athletic Conference Coach of the Year (1993, 1994, 1996, 1999), led Mount Senario to an NAIA top-25 national ranking in 1999 and 2000. He was twice a finalist for NAIA Coach of the Year and was head coach of the National All-Star Football Classic. Brautigam coached a school-best 84 first team all-conference selections, 24 all-Americans and six NAIA Scholar Athletes.
Brautigam began his coaching career at St. Cloud State, where he coached wide receivers and outside linebackers for two seasons. In 1989, he helped lead the Huskies to the quarterfinals of the NCAA Division II Playoffs and a North Central Conference championship.
Brautigam graduated from Iowa Wesleyan College in 1988 with a bachelor's of science degree in physical education. He earned a master's of science degree in athletic administration from St. Cloud State in 1990.
Brautigam and his wife Allison reside in Mount Vernon and have two sons, Nick, 22, and Zack, 19. Nick is a senior safety on Cornell's football team.