(Editor’s Note: The following information was submitted to the Patriot by AFCA Media Relations contact, Vince Thompson. Slight modifications were made by the Patriot’s Editor.)
Becker High School Head Coach Dwight Lundeen was named the recipient of the 2022 AFCA®/AFCF® Power of Influence Award at the 2023 AFCA Convention in Charlotte, NC Sunday night.
Lundeen was nominated by Minnesota Football Coaches Association.
The Power of Influence award was created as a way for the AFCA® and AFCF® to honor a deserving high school football coach. Lundeen was up for the award along with four other coaches from around the country — Jim Kelliher, Abington (Mass.) H.S.; Rodney Saulsberry Sr., Whitehaven (Tenn.) H.S.; John King, Longview (Tex.) H.S.; and Todd Sloat, Fall River (Calif.) H.S.
Lundeen becomes just the third Minnesotan coach to win the award who include Ron Stolski of Brainerd (2005) and Dave Nelson of Minnetonka (2019.)
Coaches who receive this award are recognized for their impact on their team, as well as the legacy they leave with the school and surrounding community. This award is not based on wins and losses; however, it should be noted that coaches of powerful influence have longevity and success. This is the first AFCA award specifically designed to honor a high school coach.
“My story is that for 53 years, I have chosen to do something I truly love, coach football,” Lundeen said. “As a coach, I strive to make a difference by guiding young men to be better students and role models as well as better husbands, fathers, and community members once they leave our program.”
Lundeen started the Becker High School football team in 1970 and has never left. In his 53 years as head coach, Lundeen has amassed an overall record of 390-166-3 with three state championships, 19 section titles and 24 conference championships. He has also been the head track coach, head golf coach, assistant varsity basketball coach and assistant girls’ lacrosse coach while at Becker.
Lundeen has served as president, and on the executive committee, of the Minnesota Football Coaches Association (MFCA), the Minnesota Interscholastic Activities Administrators Association, and the Minnesota State High School League. He has served as the High School Liaison to the Minnesota Vikings for the MFCA and been a member of the Vikings High School All-Star Team Selection Committee and the Minnesota Mr. Football Selection Committee. Lundeen has also served as the head coach of the Outstate All-Star Team in 1994 and 2013.
Lundeen has earned many awards and honors over his 53 years in coaching. He has been inducted into the National Coaches Association Hall of Fame (2019), Minnesota Activities Directors Hall of Fame (2014), Minnesota High School League Hall of Fame (2014) and the Minnesota Football Coaches Hall of Fame (2009). He is a four-time Minnesota Football Coach of the Year and was named Minnesota Athletic Administrator of the Year in 2003 and Minnesota Football Coaches Association Man of the Year in 2015.
The AFCA has partnered with the College Football Playoff Foundation’s Extra Yard for Teachers initiative to inspire and empower Pre-K-12 teachers and coaches across the country. As part of this partnership, the 2022 AFCA/AFCF Regional Power of Influence Award winners- – Kelliher, Saulsberry, Lundeen, King, and Sloat were each awarded with $1,000 in DonorsChoose grant funds on behalf of the AFCA and the College Football Playoff Foundation.
Past Power of Influence Award winners include: Larry Dippel, Amarillo (Texas) H.S. (2002); John McKissick, Summerville (S.C.) H.S. (2003); Marcus Borden, East Brunswick (N.J.) H.S. (2004); Ron Stolski, Brainerd (Minn.) H.S. (2005); Sid Otton, Tumwater (Wash.) H.S. (2006); Rob Younger, Sweet Home (Ore.) H.S. (2007); George Smith, St. Thomas Aquinas (Fla.) H.S. (2008); Jim Drewry, Booneville (Miss.) H.S. (2009); Brent Steuerwald, Shenendehowa (N.Y.) H.S. (2010); Noel Dean, Lowell (Mich.) H.S. (2011); Andy Lowry, Columbine (Colo.) H.S. (2012); Bob Burt, Cypress (Calif.) H.S. (2013); Ott Hurrle, Scecina Memorial (Ind.) H.S. (2014); Sam Harrell, Fort Worth Christian (Texas) H.S. (2015); Tony DeMatteo, Somers (N.Y.) H.S. (2016); Allan Trimble, Jenks (Okla.) H.S. (2017); Rick Jones, Greenwood (Ark.) H.S. (2018); Dave Nelson, Minnetonka (Minn.) HS (2019); Don Smolyn, Lenape Valley Regional High School (2020) and Bill Blankenship, Owasso (Okla.) High School (2021).