The Mayville State University football coaching staff. Pictured from left to right are Brian Quinn, Rod Oksendahl, Shane Clancy, head coach Sean Thom, Anton Anderson, and Jake McSpadden.
The Mayville State University family is pleased to welcome Sean Thom to the position of head coach of the Comets football team. Coach Thom comes to Mayville State from North Forsyth High School (Ga.), where he was the defensive coordinator and head strength and conditioning coordinator.
The son of a U.S. Air Force airman, Sean Thom was born at Ellsworth Air Force Base in South Dakota and has lived in Grand Forks, N.D., Germany, Florida, Alabama, and Georgia. Several of his family members currently live in the Fargo-Moorhead area. Sean and his wife, Samantha, are the parents of a two-year-old son, Gunnar.
Thom is the product of NAIA education and football. He is a three-time All-American and two-time Academic All-American. He graduated as valedictorian of his class at Faulkner University. He began his coaching career at Faulkner, an NAIA school in Montgomery, Alabama.
As part of his first three-month plan at Mayville State, Coach Thom and his team have begun morning weight workouts on Mondays, Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Fridays. On two days a week, the members of the team are participating in Coach Thom’s “Blue Dawn” program. According to Thom, the program requires absolutely no technique. It’s all about EFFORT. The team is also participating in offensive/defensive installs two days a week.
Student athletes are required to attend a minimum of two study hall sessions a week. Each of the sessions is made up of a minimum of 45 minutes of learning, peer tutoring, and more.
There will be practice two days a week starting in March. These practices are intended for the members of the team to see how practices will be run going forward. Spring practice will begin in April, and there will be a spring game after 15 practices. Coach Thom’s goal is to keep the guys busy and to hold them accountable.
Coach Thom aims to have a team that is disciplined, which simply means his players are expected to do things the right way and be in constant communication with coaches and other players. He has instituted a rigid accountability system for his team, and each player is expected to sign an accountability contract.
In Thom’s point system, every player starts with zero, but gets points for negative behavior, which would include being late for class or any football team function. The number of points gained increases for missing class or a football team function. If a player reaches three points, they must meet personally with their position coach. At six points, the player goes before the Comet Council, and at nine points, the player is dismissed from the team.
Coach Thom’s first hire was Rod Oksendahl, a member of the National High School and North Dakota High School Halls of Fame. Coach “O” will be the offensive coordinator and will man the offensive line. He brings a tremendous amount of experience from around the state and will help bring a physicality and toughness that hasn’t been present for a long time.
Next, Thom hired Shane Clancy to be the defensive coordinator, as well as recruiting coordinator. Coach Clancy comes from Buena Vista University, where he served as the defensive backs coach. Prior to his time at BVU, Coach Clancy served for four years in numerous roles on the coaching staff of Northern State University in South Dakota. Coach Clancy will do a tremendous job of bringing in local talent that will be able to contribute to the university and community, as well as on the field.
Also joining the staff is Brian Quinn from Seward, Neb. Coach Quinn has spent that last two seasons as a graduate assistant at Concordia University in Nebraska. He will be responsible for coaching the quarterbacks and also has a tremendous amount of experience in recruiting in Nebraska, South Dakota, North Dakota, Minnesota, and Iowa.
Filling out the coaching staff this spring is Anton Anderson, who will serve as running backs coach and community outreach director. Coach Anderson is well-versed in the Mayville community and will do a great job of connecting our team to the community.
Finally, Coach Jake McSpadden will serve as the offensive graduate assistant and will work hand in hand with Coach “O,” working with the offensive line.
Coach Thom and his assistants are looking to recruit high character, high quality, and high academic young men. They will recruit in Mayville State’s own back yard, and will cover an area within a 100-mile radius that circles Mayville. Each coach will have an assigned area will be in constant communication, visiting the schools within the radius a minimum of once each year. Mayville State alumni in those schools can expect a visit from the Comet Football coaching staff.
What about wins and losses?
Coach Thom says, “Winning for us is a daily thing.” He says his team wins by going to class, lifting weights, being respectful, and giving back. A winning football player in the Comets program will go to school, graduate, and develop two traits – accountability and dependability. “If we do these things, then winning on the field will take care of itself,” says Thom. “I truly believe it!”