FOREST CITY – Possessing a track record of success on the gridiron in the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA), Josh Littrell takes over as the next head coach of the Waldorf University football program.
Littrell was announced as the head coach of the Warriors on Monday.
"Josh has impressive football lineage and has been instrumental in the success of Doane University's football program in recent years," said Waldorf director of athletics Denny Jerome. "Josh is a veteran coach with experience in winning cultures and has a proven ability to recruit quality student-athletes with priority on academic success. I am encouraged that his strong administrative skills and many strengths will help lead the Waldorf University football program."
Littrell joins the Warriors after spending four seasons as offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach at Doane in Crete, Neb. where he assisted in elevating the program's level of success. The Tigers finished ranked in the top 25 of the NAIA poll in each of his four years at Doane, which included top-10 rankings the past two seasons. Littrell compiled a 25-7 record as offensive coordinator at Doane, helping the Tigers post a 9-2 record in each of the past two seasons while earning back-to-back runner-up finishes in the always-dominant Great Plains Athletic Conference (GPAC) and two straight NAIA playoff appearances.
With nearly two decades of coaching experience under his belt, Littrell is looking forward to his first head coaching position as he assumes leadership of the Warriors' program.
"It means a lot to me," Littrell said. "I'm just blessed for [Athletic Director] Jerome to give me a chance to take that next step professionally. I think that there's a great opportunity for the community and Waldorf University to have a lot of success with its football program."
Last season at Doane, Littrell coached an offense that ranked 15th in the NAIA with 225.2 rushing yards per game, 15th in scoring with 35.7 points a game and 17th in total rushing offense (2,477 yards). During Littrell's first season with the Tigers, they turned in a 5-5 record. Doane improved its record to 7-3 during the 2014 season, concluding the year with a 49-48 upset win over top-ranked Morningside College. The Tigers continued their upward trend with Littrell commanding the offense, rolling to two consecutive seasons that ended with 9-2 records. While coaching at Doane, Littrell heavily and successfully recruited student-athletes from Nebraska, Texas, Missouri, Kansas and Oklahoma.
From 2007 to 2013, Littrell served as offensive coordinator and assistant coach at Earl Warren High School in San Antonio. During the 2011 season, he engineered an offense that led all San Antonio schools in scoring. The Warriors captured the 2011 district championship and reached the quarterfinal round of the Texas Class 5A playoffs. Earl Warren was a 2010 area finalist, claimed the 2008 district title and was also an area finalist during the 2008 and 2007 seasons. Littrell developed three first-team all-district quarterbacks during his time with the Warriors.
Serving as a physical education teacher and passing game coordinator at Del Rio High School in Del Rio, Texas, Littrell designed the passing scheme for the Rams while working with the team's quarterbacks and wide receivers from 2005 to 2007.
Littrell was the offensive coordinator and associate athletic director at Hutchinson Community College in Hutchinson, Kan. from 2002 to 2005 where he also oversaw fundraising for the athletic department. Working in the National Junior College Athletic Association (NJCAA) ranks at Hutchinson, he coached numerous student-athletes onto respectable NCAA Division I, NCAA Division II and NAIA collegiate careers. The Blue Dragons played in the 2003 Valley of the Sun Bowl and were the 2004 Heart of Texas Bowl champions under Littrell.
From 2001 to 2002, Littrell oversaw football operations and was an assistant coach at then-NCAA Division 1-AA Southern Illinois University in Carbondale, Ill. His coaching career also included a stint as a student assistant and assistant wide receivers coach at NCAA Division II's Emporia State University in Emporia, Kan. from 2000 to 2001.
A native of Olathe, Kan., Littrell is a 1995 Olathe South High School graduate and played as a quarterback and wide receiver during his prep career with the Falcons. He continued his education and football career at Garden City Community College in Garden City, Kan. where he was a wide receiver during the 1996 and 1997 seasons. Littrell went on to play NCAA Division II football at Emporia State from 1998 to 1999. He graduated from Emporia State in 2002 with a bachelor's degree in integrated studies and an emphasis in physical education. Littrell served in the United States Marine Corps from 1996 to 2000 and is currently pursuing a master's of education degree from Doane.
Littrell has helped organize and oversee numerous camps during his coaching career, including the Tony Gonzalez Football Camp and was also the coordinator of the Darren Sproles Football Camp. His professional affiliations include the American Football Coaches Association (AFCA) and the Texas High School Coaches Association (THSCA).
The son of a football coach, Littrell's father, Mark, is the head coach at Leavenworth High School in Leavenworth, Kan. and was recently inducted into the Greater Kansas City Football Coaches Association (GKCFCA) Hall of Fame. Littrell and his wife, Renae, have three sons – Cooper, Max and DJ.
Littrell takes over Waldorf's program, which was led by Kent Anderson for the past five seasons. Anderson plans to remain in the Forest City community after accepting a position outside of coaching.
Settling in on Waldorf's campus, Littrell is looking to get acquainted with the team's players. He said building relationships with student-athletes is paramount to generating success.
"It's about getting the kids to know me and the new coaches who are coming in, so that they understand that it's a process," Littrell said. "It's not going to happen overnight. It's going to happen throughout the years."
Putting together winning seasons is the goal for any program, but Littrell said it's crucial to have a strong foundation in place.
"We're all competitive by nature, so we want it to happen sooner than later, but we want to make sure everything is done the right way and that it's going to represent Waldorf University in a first-class manner," Littrell said.
The Warriors open the 2017 season on Aug. 26 when they host Briar Cliff University in a 7 p.m. kickoff at Bolstorff Field. Set to begin his first year at Waldorf, Littrell wants to see his players displaying a team-first mentality both on and off the field.
"We want to be competitive," Littrell said. "I want our kids to learn to be great teammates first. I'm not a big goal-setter as far as wins and losses go because I believe if we've got the right team chemistry, everything is going to take care of itself in those columns. I want our team to learn how to put the team before self and good things are going to happen for them."