Steve Johnson


Coach Johnson recently completed his 27th year as the head football coach at Bethel University. Under Johnson’s leadership, Bethel’s football program has risen to national prominence and has become a perennial contender for the MIAC championship.

Bethel University’s football program is based on the core values of being GRATEFUL for everything, TOUGHNESS in discipline and work, and DEVOTED to our brothers and the King.

• Amassed 197 career wins and a .693 winning percentage
• Ranks fourth among active NCAA Division III coaches in career wins
• Six-time MIAC Coach of the Year
• Three West Region Coach of the Year Awards
• Two American Football Coaches Association (AFCA) Region Five Coach of the Year Awards
• Finalist for the Liberty Mutual Coach of the Year Award in 2010 and 2011
• Minnesota Football Coaches Association 2011 Man of the Year
• Five MIAC Championships
• Advanced to the NCAA Division III playoffs eight times in the last 14 years
• Two NCAA West Region championships (’07, ’10)
• Completed the home schedule undefeated nine times with a 103-32-1 (.761%) record at home
• 23 consecutive non-losing seasons
• Ranked in the NCAA DIII Top 25 every week from October 10, 2010 to November 8, 2014
• 53-16 (.768%) overall record since 2010, including 37-11 in MIAC play
• 6-3 record in NCAA playoff games since 2010

• Quarterback Erik Peterson 2013 MIAC MVP
• Running Back Logan Flannery 2010 MIAC MVP
• Quarterback Ben Wetzell 2007 MIAC MVP
• Outside Linebacker Kirby Carr 2006 MIAC MVP
• Running Back Mike Johnson 2001 MIAC MVP
• Running Back Chris Wiens 1992 MIAC MVP
• Defensive End Zach Danielson 2006 Mike Stam Award Winner (Lineman of the Year)
• Wide Reciever John Kilde 2002 MIAC All-Purpose Player of the Year
• Offensive Tackle Chico Rowland 1999 MIke Stam Award Winner (Lineman of the Year)
• 145 MIAC First Team All-Conference Selections
• 48 players recognized as Academic All-Conference since 2010
• 36 first team All-Conference and 27 second team All-Conference performers since 2010

• Linebacker Seth Mathis was a two-time All-American selection by the AFCA and in 2012 and 2013
• Wide Reciever Mitch Hallstrom and offensive tackle Jeff Schmidt joined Mathis as second team All-American’s in 2013
• Gavin Maurer (’12) and JD Melhlhorn (’13) were both recipients of CoSIDA Academic All-American honors and the prestigious NCAA Postgraduate Scholarship
• JD Mehlhorn and Reed Velo selected to the 22 member All-State Good Works Team in 2013 and 2009
• Mehlhorn awarded the 2013 Bob Stein Scholar Athlete Award by the Minnesota chapter of the National Football Foundation
• Offensive lineman Mitch Elliot (’11), linebacker Cory Svihla (’10), linebacker Seth Mathis (’13) and wide reciever Mitch Hallstrom (’13) were all invited to participate in Minnesota Vikings Rookie Camp following the completion of their standout careers
• Quarterback Josh Aakre (’11) played two seasons of professional football in Germany

• Presented multiple times at the MFCA Minnesota Football Clinic and Glazer Clinics
• Frequent speaker and clinician for the Fellowship of Christian Athletes (FCA) huddles and camps including the Minnesota Vikings FCA Football Camp
• Volunteer for the Union Gospel Mission summer football camp
• Speaks regularly at Minnesota Teen Challenge and the Hospitality House
• Has taught a Bethel class during J-term called “The Band of Brothers” and follows the steps of World War II and Easy Company (101st Airborne) through Europe

Married for 35 years to wife Susan with three grown children; Cornell and twin daughters Maddie and Katie who is married to Reid Englund

“Steve did what was at the time a daunting task; build Bethel into a consistant winner. The student athletes are a reflection of him, play with passion and conduct themselves with class.”
Mike Max, WCCO TV & Radio

“Steve Johnson is a great leader of men, a person of integrity and a Godly man. He is someone that I would be proud to say my son played for Coach Johnson.”
— Leslie Frazier, former Minnesota Vikings Head Coach, current defensive coordinater of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers

“Coach Johnson brings a unique blend of humor, authenticity, love for his players and a steadfast faith in the Lord. He’s able to relate to his players in a very genuine way and on many different levels, be it as a collegiate football player, father, husband or follower of Christ. Football only lasts four years but the application of countless lessons learned from ‘Coach J’ will be leveraged over a liftetime.”

— Kirby Carr, 2006 MIAC MVP, 4-time All-MIAC OLB