UPDATE: Mount Union won its 11th national title Friday night when they defeated St. Thomas 28-10.
For today’s edition of Small Schools, we’ll continue along the football path as we focus on this weekend’s Division III National Championship game. We’ll take a look at a team that has won more National Titles than both Alabama and Notre Dame. This team we’re profiling is Mount Union.
What makes Mount Union’s dominance in Division III amazing is the fact that they’ve won 10 National Championships in a 20 year span. Think about it, Notre Dame hasn’t won a National Title since 1988.
This weekened, they could win their 11th National Title as they play St. Thomas in Stagg Bowl XL (no Tostitos sponsor). Should the Purple Raiders (yes they’re Purple, deal with it) win, it would be their first National Title win since 2008.
Even though Mount Union hasn’t won the National Title in four seasons, it doesn’t mean that they’ve gone 8-4 and made appearances in some crappy bowl game (those are unheard of in D-III). This will be the Purple Raiders eighth consecutive Stagg Bowl. Just try and imagine Alabama playing in that many National Championship games.
The last few seasons, they’ve been knocked off by the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater. Just wait until I get to the UW school system because that could take weeks. All in all, Saturday’s game will be Mount Union’s 16th in the Stagg Bowl and all of these appearances since 1993.
Larry Kehres is the head coach for Mount Union. Kehres is an alum and has been coaching at Mount Union since 1986. In his 27 seasons on the sidelines, Kehres has coached Mount Union to a 331-24-3 record. Among coaches at all levels, John Gagliardi, Eddie Robinson and Bobby Bowden all rank ahead of Kehres.
Mount Union has a lot of undefeated and one loss seasons. The Purple Raiders haven’t had two or more losses in a season since 1994. Mount Union plays in the Ohio Athletic Conference and the team has won every conference title since 1991.
The school itself was founded in 1846. Like many D-III schools, it is private and has a religious affiliation. The University of Mount Union is affiliated with the United Methodist Church.
Mount Union is located in Alliance, Ohio, a town about an hour from Cleveland and Pittsburgh.
There are fraternities and sororities on campus. If that’s not enough, there’s also a theatre and a radio station. So yeah…there’s that. There’s also a Nature Center, which has a trail open all year, as well as a bird observatory.
Several alums are active in the NFL today. Packers defensive coordinator Dom Capers is the most notable coach to attend Mount Union. Jaguars wide receiver Cecil Shorts III and Washington wide receiver Pierre Garcon were also alums from Mount Union. Both players were part of national championship teams.
If you’re wondering about where to eat in Alliance, well there is an Applebees. Okay, they also have other restaurants like Texas Roadhouse and even a Bob Evans Restaurant. There’s a lot of other places to eat, if Applebees isn’t your thing. You could also go to Grinders, the management staff there is CPR certified. I bet Applebees can’t even say that.
Ahem…Sorry about that.
No matter what happens Saturday, chances are Mount Union will continue to be a threat in Division III football. That said, if you were to ask me if I thought Mount Union could beat either Notre Dame or Alabama, I would just laugh…and laugh…and laugh.