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Whitworth picks Rod Sandberg as football coach


Whitworth University announced Monday the hiring of Rod Sandberg as its next head football coach to replace John Tully.

Whitworth chose Sandberg, a defensive coordinator from Division III Wheaton College, over two other finalists: Chris Tormey, who is from Spokane and has head coaching experience at Idaho and Nevada, and John Sala, the head coach at Louisburg (N.C.) College.

Whitworth will conduct a news conference at 4 p.m. today to introduce Sandberg.

Tormey is scheduled to interview Wednesday for the vacant head coaching job at Central Washington University.

Sandberg has coached 19 years at the school in Wheaton, Ill., where he has served the last 11 years as defensive coordinator. He also served as linebackers coach and as Wheaton’s recruiting coordinator.

The successful football program went 8-2 both of the last two years. Since he started coaching linebackers in 1995, Sandberg has coached seven All-Americans and 49 all-conference players.

Prior to rejoining Wheaton, where he played defensive back from 1987-90, Sandberg coached at Georgetown (Ky.) College in 1993-94 and Aurora (Ill.) University in 1991.

Tormey reportedly interviewed well and impressed Whitworth officials. But Sandberg eventually won the job.

“Rod distinguished himself as our top candidate in a deep and talented applicant pool due to his proven coaching ability and his familiarity with Division III,” Melinda Larson, interim director of athletics, said in a news release.

Sandberg replaces Tully, who resigned last month after winning his 100th game at the school, which is the most in Whitworth history. Tully finished with a record of 100-83.