Assistant Head Coach/ Assistant Defensive Coordiantor
Billy Kirch is in his first year in the role of assistant defensive coordinator after serving as an assistant for the Red Raider defense last season.
Kirch has past head coaching stops at both Forest Lake (Minn.) High School (2012-13) and Waverly-South Shore (S.D.) High School (2008-11), where he led the team to the nine-man state championship in 2011. He was also the linebackers coach for North Iowa Area Community College in 2007 and served as a student assistant for South Dakota State University in 2006.
“My family and I are very blessed and extremely excited about this opportunity to be a full-time coach at Northwestern College,” said Kirch. “I have been really impressed with the strong Christian staff and tradition of excellence that Northwestern represents. I am looking forward to working side by side with such great coaches and faculty here at Northwestern. With God’s help, we will use athletics as a vehicle to develop young people with a heart for Christ.”
Kirch, a 2006 graduate of South Dakota State, played linebacker for the Jackrabbits for four years (2002-05). He and his wife, Natalie, live near Rock Rapids, Iowa, and have three children; Brady, Aubrey and Clayton.
"I hope the lessons the players learn on the football field will help them in life," says Zeutenhorst, coach of the Raider linebackers.
Zeutenhorst is in his 20th season on the football staff and will once again serve as the linebacker's coach.
Northwestern annually produces some of the best linebackers in the NAIA with the coaching of Zeutenhorst. In 2012, three out of the five leading tacklers on the vaunted Raider defense were linebackers, totaling 184 tackles collectively. All three players earned all-conference honors.
Zeutenhorst was a member of the defensive line during his NWC playing career and played on both the 1978 playoff team and the 1979 national runner-up squad.
Zeutenhorst hopes that the lessons the players learn on the football field will help them in life. “The long-standing tradition on and off the field, and the family emphasis, is not just a saying. It is something this program firmly believes in and strives to fulfill. I enjoy the relationships I have developed with the players and coaches,” Zeutenhorst said.
A 1980 Northwestern graduate, Zeutenhorst teaches at Sioux Center High School and coaches baseball at Sheldon. He earned his master’s degree in physical education and recreation at the University of Iowa. Zeutenhorst and his wife, Sherri, have four children, Nicole, Megan, Natalie and Taylor. Sherri is a guidance counselor in the Sheldon School District.
Aalbers is in his 8th year as a member of the defensive coaching staff working with the defensive backs and secondary. He also served as an assistant in 2001.
The Northwestern secondary had another stellar season in 2012 under Aalbers, ranking among the top passing defenses in the GPAC (180ypg). They totaled 14 interceptions and four players earned all-conference honors.
A 2000 graduate of NWC, Aalbers lettered four years for the Red Raiders and was also a member of the 2000 playoff team that lost in the national semifinals to Northwestern Oklahoma.
Prior to joining the Red Raider coaching staff, Aalbers also coached for Mayo High School in Rochester, Minn., for two seasons. He hopes his players “can excel not only on the field but off the field as well. The ‘Family on a Mission’ motto that we use has always been something I have carried with me through my playing and coaching days at NWC.”
Aalbers is the Orange City Parks and Recreation director. His wife, Monica, is a physical therapist in Orange City. They have a son, Caleb, and a daughter, Camryn.
Assistant Coach-Defensive Line
Fernstrum is in his fifth year as a member of the Red Raiders' coaching staff, working primarily with the defensive line.
The Red Raider defensive line has thrived in the two years under Fernstrum. Last year, the Raiders ranked second in the NAIA with 44 sacks, setting a new GPAC record. They also were very good against the run, ranking fifth in the nation holding opponents to just 91 yards per game. Fernstrum has coached four all-conference players, including last year’s GPAC defensive player of the year, Jordan Carlson.
“Our main goal here is to develop young men to be servant leaders in their homes, churches, and communities,” said Fernstrum. “I am blessed to be able to coach here at Northwestern where that is our goal.”
Fernstrum is a 2012 Northwestern graduate with a degree in Business Education/Administration. He continues to work as an admissions counselor for Northwestern, working primarily in northwest Iowa, along with Michigan and southern portions of the United States.