An exciting day for St. Olaf College football!

Big changes are coming to Manitou Field for the 2016 season -- a new, synthectic turf playing surface.

Thanks to the generosity of an unnamed donor, Manitou Field's natural grass football field wll be replaced by a new artificial turf field. St. Olaf Athletic Director Ryan Bowles sent out the following e-mail earlier today:



It is with great excitement that I reach out to you today, in advance of public release, to share with you the attached news. Manitou Field will be switching to a synthetic surface beginning with the 2016 football season thanks to an anonymous donor that has stepped up to support our efforts. 

 Today truly is a great day to be an Ole! The momentum and support for Ole Football and Ole Athletics is strong right now. We continue to progress everyday towards our goals of success on the field and in the classroom. We are working tirelessly to support our wonderful student athletes. 

 Simply put, we cannot have success if we go at it alone. We need the wonderful support of each of our Football alumni as we continue to move forward. I ask each of you to join the movement and support our football program. You can support us with your time, by attending a home football game or Touchdown Club function or through your financial resources, by considering a gift to one of the many projects we have lined up to directly benefit our football student athletes and their experience.

The future is bright for Ole Athletics and Ole Football and each of you have laid the foundation for future success. It is an honor to serve as the Athletic Director and to be able to call myself an Ole. I look forward to meeting each of you in the future and appreciate your continued support of Ole Football. Today marks the first of many successes we will have together! 
Go Oles!





A day to celebrate

Smiles, tears, poignancy. Memories. Optimism.

Saturday's 2015 St. Olaf Football banquet had all those in abundance, as the Oles celebrated a season filled with joy and sadness, elation and disappointment and, as always, looking ahead to what the future holds.

Senior running back and co-captain J.J. Strnad was named the Tom Porter Award winner as the team's Most Valuable Player, as well as Offensive MVP for a season in which he gained more than 1,000 yards rushing and receiving, even though limited by injury to seven games played. J.J. had an amazing season, and his five total touchdowns and more than 300 yards of total offense against Carleton earned him MIAC Offensive Player of the Week honors.

Senior defensive back Kyle Keenan was named defensive Most Valuable Player. The corner from Minnetonka had two interceptions, which led the Oles, and a whopping 12 passes broken up, near the top for the MIAC. Kyle's two interceptions came against Carleton, with the second securing the Ole win and the Goattrophy for this year's seniors.

Senior running back Connor McCormick, after an emotional presentation by the Ben Danielson family, was named the 2015 Ben Danielson Award winner, which recognizes an Ole who best exemplifies leadership and inspiration. Connor had a wonderful season as both a runner and a receiver, stepping into whatever role the team needed him to play.

Junior receiver Connor Yahn was named the team's Offensive Rising Star and Most Improved as he flashed big play ability in several games this season. Freshman defensive back Tommy Fleetham was named the Rising Star - Defense after he was thrust into a starting role early in the season and displayed a toughness that will serve the Oles well in seasons to come.

Honored by the conference were J.J. Strnad, who earned All-MIAC Second Team Offense; senior quarterback Nate Penz, All-MIAC Honorable Mention Offense; senior defensive back Seamus Walsh, All-MIAC Honorable Mention Defense; senior offensive lineman Jaylen Jones, All-MIAC Honorable Mention Offense; Kyle Keenan, All-MIAC Honorable Mention Defense and senior defensive back Brice Peterson, named to the All-MIAC Sportsmanship Team.

J.J., Connor, junior offensive lineman Ted Deitz, junior receiver John Stone and junior linebacker Colten Yahn were recognized as Academic All-MIAC.

Head Coach Craig Stern paid tribute to the team's captains -- Seamus Walsh, Nate Penz, J.J. Strnad and senior linebacker Sam Kuss -- for their steady and unselfish leadership during a sometimes-trying, injury-filled 2-8 season that, nonetheless, was filled with highlight reel plays, a whole lot of fun and a strong sense of family.

The foundation for Ole success to come was laid by the work of these seniors, these rising stars, this team, Stern said. Their impact on the St. Olaf Football program will never be forgotten, he said.




Four Oles continue their college careers by a game

Four St. Olaf Seniors are not yet done playing college football.

J.J. Strnad, Brice Peterson, Justin Schmid and Seamus Walsh all are participating in post-season all-star football games.

Strnad, from Palo Alto, Cal., who was named All-MIAC Second Team Offense, will be playing in the FCS Senior Scout Bowl in Myrtle Beach, S.C. on Dec. 19. Peterson, of Northfield, will also be in South Carolina on that day, playing in the D3 Senior Classic.

Walsh, of St. Paul, and Schmid, from Eden Prairie, will be playing in the Aztec Bowl in Mexico City’s Olympic Stadium on Dec. 5 for the USA Eagles team.




Six Oles honored by MIAC

Senior running back J.J. Strnad on Tuesday was among six St. Olaf football players honored by the MIAC for their play in 2015. J.J. earned All-MIAC Second Team Offense honors for a year in which he once again finished with more than 1,000 yards in total offense, with 13 total touchdowns.

Four Oles were named All-MIAC Honorable Mention: Quarterback Nate Penz, a senior from Rochester; offensive lineman Jaylen Jones, a senior from Blaine; cornerback Kyle Keenan, a senior from Minnetonka, and safety Seamus Walsh, a senior from St. Paul.

Senior safety Brice Peterson was named to the All-MIAC Sportsmanship Team.

Congratulations to a great group of players and terrific young men!


Want the memories to last a while longer? Buy a Memory Book!

Hello Oles!


It feels as if the football season ended, oh, about a year ago. I am already missing Saturdays, following our boys, cheering “First Down!” and singing Um Ya Ya after each Ole score. 

But that last game does not have to be your last memory of the 2015 season. I and Mark Wallin are putting together the 2015 St. Olaf Football Memory Book! 

The Memory Book is a great way to relive the ups – and occasional downs – of this past season. What I need to know is: How many of you wonderful people would like one? 

Now, that is a moot point for the seniors. The St. Olaf Touchdown Club has generously agreed to pay for Memory Books for all of our seniors. But what about the rest of you? Since we essentially self-publish this, I need to get a head count from people before I know what the price of the book will be. So if you all could, ASAP, respond to this email with whether you want a Memory Book and how many you would like, that would help tremendously. Contact me at

Once I have a complete head count, I will send you a follow-up email with the price. In the past, Memory Books have run about $70-$75 (about the same price as a HS Yearbook). If I can get this done in time, the Memory Books will be ready and distributed at the team banquet in February.

Again, because this is essentially self-published and I do not have unlimited funds, I will need the books to be pre-paid before we print them. But I will send those emails later. For now, let me know ASAP if you want a Memory Book and in what quantity.

Thank you all for what you have done for St. Olaf football this season. Heidi and I miss our get-togethers on Saturdays and are looking forward to seeing all of you at the Team Banquet in February.