By Chad Cooper, community contributor
CEDAR RAPIDS — There’s a new face on the campus of Luther College, and it just so happens to be the head football coach.
Aaron Hafner became the 13th head coach in the history of Luther football on Jan. 30, succeeding Mike Durnin, who resigned in November after five years with the program. Hafner takes over a team that is in need of both offense and wins. The Norse didn’t win a game in 2012 and scored more than 10 points on only three occasions.
Hafner brings offensive experience. He was the offensive coordinator and offensive line coach at William Penn for seven years. During his tenure, the Statesmen won Midwest League titles in 2010 and 2012 and Hafner’s offense was ranked in the top-five nationally from 2008-12.
He is intent on bringing those types of results and firepower to Luther.
“To me, it’s a mentality. I grew up around option football so we’ll bring that style of play to Luther,” Hafner said.
Hafner also stressed the need to get players into the lifting and conditioning programs as well as the immediacy in recruiting to compete in the Iowa Conference.
Hafner is stepping foot into a highly talented and highly competitive conference. The Iowa Conference had five teams tied for second place at 4-3 and a conference champion in Coe that went undefeated in the conference and finished the year ranked 15th in the nation.
“There’s a lot of parody in this conference,” he said. “Our goal is to steadily work our way up and we think we have some things that we can put into place and implement into the system right away that will get us there as soon as possible.”
Hafner will take over a fairly young team. The Norse also are in search of a new starting quarterback with the departure of senior Kody Moore.
Though faced with some challenges, Hafner sees unlimited potential and opportunity in Decorah.“I’m really excited about being on campus at Luther and about the opportunity,” he said. “Our mission is to get this program turned around and heading in the right direction as soon as possible.”