Jim PurtillHead Coach of Men's Football
Committed to excellence, the hard-working Jim Purtill is entering his 14th season at the helm of St. Norbert College’s football program.
The numbers Purtill has posted during his tenure with the Green Knights speak volumes. In his first 13 seasons, St. Norbert has registered a tremendous overall record of 114-24. The Green Knights have won nine Midwest Conference championships under his watch and have appeared in eight NCAA Division III Playoffs.
Purtill’s teams have rewritten substantial amounts of Midwest Conference football history. The Green Knights own a staggering 106-10 mark in Midwest Conference games under Purtill, and have an even more impressive 52-5 in league road games. St. Norbert fashioned a league record 26-game conference winning to start his coaching term. The Green Knights’ six straight MWC championships from 1999 to 2004 is the longest streak of dominance in the 86-year gridiron history of the league.
Offense is Purtill’s game. Of St. Norbert team and individual highs, 21 top statistical records have been reset in the last five years. The team has also scored over 400 points in five of the last 10 seasons. The Green Knights have scored over 50 points in a game 28 times in his 138-game coaching stint. In the 557 football games St. Norbert played prior to Purtill’s arrival, the Green Knights scored at least 50 points in a game just 12 times.
The Green Knights finished all six seasons from 1999 to 2004 ranked in the final AFCA NCAA Division III Top 25, one of only two schools nationally – joined by Mount Union (Ohio) College – to accomplish the lofty feat. The amiable Kent, Ohio, native has led the Green Knights to final NCAA Division III rankings of 22nd in 1999, 17th in 2000, 23rd in 2001, 25th in 2002, 13th in 2003, 20th in 2004, a No. 23 ranking in 2006 and 18th in 2007.
In the NCAA Division III Playoffs, St. Norbert has taken on six of the country’s top small-college programs. St. Norbert lost to eventual national runner-up UW-Whitewater in 2006. In 2004, St. Norbert led Wisconsin Intercollegiate Athletic Conference champion UW-La Crosse after three quarters before succumbing 37-23 in a first-round game. During the 2003 season, St. Norbert rallied late in the game to pull out a 26-20 double overtime win over Simpson (Iowa) College, and then lost a second-round contest to eventual national champion St. John’s (Minn.) University 38-13. The Green Knights lost a narrow 39-32 decision to Augustana (Ill.) College in the 1999 playoffs and the 2000 club led Central (Iowa) College 14-12 at halftime before dropping a 29-14 score. In 2001, St. Norbert lost to St. John’s by a 27-20 count.
No stranger to success at the conference and national levels, Purtill’s prior two coaching stops were rife with similar success. As offensive line coach at Ferris State (Mich.) University from 1988 to 1994, the Bulldogs won three Midwest Intercollegiate Football Conference titles and appeared in the NCAA Division II Playoffs each of those years.
After moving to Albion College in 1995 as the offensive coordinator, the Britons won Michigan Intercollegiate Athletic Association titles in 1995, 1996 and 1998, earning NCAA Division III Playoff berths in 1996 and 1998. Purtill was named NCAA Division III Offensive Coordinator of the Year in 1996 after Albion registered regular-season totals of 538 yards and 50.8 points per game.Purtill graduated with a bachelor’s degree in comprehensive social studies in 1978 from Miami (Ohio) University, a school which boasts a reputation as a “Cradle of Coaches,” proving as a training ground for the likes of Earl “Red” Blaik, Woody Hayes, Ara Parseghian and Bo Schembechler. Purtill earned his master’s degree in physical education from Salem (W. Va.) College in 1995.