Elmhurst names Planz head coach

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Ron Planz played in the CCIW and comes to Elmhurst from D-II Minnesota State-Mankato.

Elmhurst has named Ron Planz head football coach. Planz becomes the 19th head coach in school history, taking over for Joe Adam, who resigned last month to join the coaching staff at Syracuse.

Planz has spent the last five seasons as an assistant coach at Minnesota State-Mankato, a Division II school. He served as the team's defensive line coach and special team's coordinator. In his time at Minnesota State, the Mavericks won four Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference South Division titles, three NSIC conference championships, qualified for the NCAA playoffs three times, including a national semifinal appearance in 2012. Planz helped coach three All-Americans and 12 first-team all-conference players in his time at Minnesota Sate, including a conference Defensive Player of the Year and Conference Newcomer of the Year.

Planz takes over for an Elmhurst team that finished the 2013 season with a 4-6 overall record and a 3-4 mark in the College Conference of Illinois and Wisconsin. The team is just one year removed from its best-ever season in 2012 when the Bluejays won a share of the CCIW championship for the first time since the 1980 season and earned the College's first-ever trip to the NCAA playoffs. The Bluejays won their opening round playoff game against Coe and earned a Top 10 national ranking in the final season polls from D3football.com and the American Football Coaches Association.

"My family and I are beyond excited to be joining the Elmhurst College community," said Planz. "This is a great school that cares about the student experience and is committed to being great. This is what has me most excited about being a Bluejay."

Prior to joining Mavericks' coaching staff in 2009, Planz served as the defensive coordinator at Manchester for five seasons where he coached seven first-team all-conference players and also worked as the team's strength and conditioning coordinator. Planz also spent three seasons as an assistant at the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire where he coached cornerbacks, wide receivers and the defensive secondary. He began his coaching career overseas, serving as the defensive coordinator for the Danube Dragons in Klosterneuburg, Austria, in 2002.

"We're pleased to have concluded what has been a rigorous and comprehensive search that has led to the hiring of Ron Planz," said athletic director Paul Krohn. "Ron will represent a new voice and face of leadership for the football program and is enthusiastic about getting started immediately with a confirmed starting date next week. He is eager to address the needs and challenges of the position with high energy and commitment to doing things right."

Planz is no stranger to the Elmhurst area or the CCIW after attending nearby Fenton High School and then playing football at Carthage. He's looking forward to the opportunity to lead the Bluejays.

"For me this is an opportunity to come back home and continue to build on the success of Bluejay Football," Planz said. "Elmhurst College has what it takes to be successful. We are going to be a program that strives to do things that are always in the best interest of our student athletes, the College and the total Elmhurst community. Having played in the CCIW, I am familiar with the conference and I know what a great league it is. I grew up just down the road and we are looking forward to being back around our families and friends."

Planz earned his bachelor's degree from Carthage in 2001 and he received a master's degree from UW-Eau Claire in 2003. He and his wife, Julia, have two children: a daughter, Lillian, and a son, Lucas.