ANDERSON — Anderson University has announced the hiring of John Sala to be the new head football coach.
"My family and I couldn't be happier about this opportunity at Anderson University. AU has a proud history in athletics and it is an honor to serve this outstanding university," Sala said. "All of my life, I've wanted to serve an institution that places Christ first, has strong academics and values athletics as a means by which to honor our Father. Anderson fulfills all of these desires. So, in essence, this a dream job for me.
"What people can expect to see from AU football is a structured, disciplined, character-driven program that values each student athlete well beyond his tangible contributions as a player. We will be deliberate with our faith and intentional in our daily walk. All the while, playing an exciting brand of football that has been proven successful. My family and I couldn't be happier to be members of the AU family."
Sala brings 20 years of collegiate coaching experience to Anderson, including 13 years as a head coach. Most recently, Sala was the head coach at Louisburg College in Louisburg, N.C. In seven seasons at Louisburg, Sala compiled a 36-31 record.
Sala led the Hurricanes to their first-ever bowl invitation in 2012. During the 2013 season, Louisburg was ranked as high as No. 8 in the National Junior College Athletic Association (NJCAA).
"We welcome Coach Sala to the AU family and look forward to a long and successful association," AU president James Edwards said. "Intercollegiate athletics plays a crucial role in our university's commitment to educate for a life of faith and service, and we believe Coach Sala can lead our football program to the promise of its prime place in our institution's life. Raven football has a promising future through his experience"
Prior to taking over the program at Louisburg, Sala spent six seasons as the head coach at Ellsworth Community College in Iowa Falls, Iowa. During his tenure at Ellsworth, Sala led his teams to three bowl championships (2001, 2003, 2004) and, in 2004, to the program's first Region XI football championship in 11 years.
"We had a very deep pool of talented coaches who applied for our head coach position," AU vice president for student affairs Brent Baker said. "John Sala rose to the top of this list as a result of his successful head coaching experience, his fit with Anderson University and his enthusiasm for pursuing a competitive football program that is focused on student achievement in the classroom, on the field and in the personal lives of our young men. We look forward to what Coach Sala will bring to our football program."
Overall, Sala has coached 17 NJCAA or NCAA All-Americans, as well as several players that continued their careers in professional football. As an assistant coach, Sala has coached at Ellsworth Community College, Iowa Central Community College, Kenyon College, Quincy University and Buena Vista University.
"I'm excited to have coach John Sala leading our football program," AU athletics director Marcie Taylor said. "Coach Sala's prior experience as a head coach has created an environment of anticipation and excitement for those involved in the AU football program. He embraces our mission and the role of mentoring young men to excel in the classroom, on the field and in their daily lives. Coach Sala's enthusiasm and energy is contagious and will certainly grow the success of our football program."
AU tabs Sala as head football coach