Nick David ’07: Coaching Students to Win On and Off the Field

Posted on October 30th, 2015 by

Nick David '07 is the head coach of the Mound Westonka High School football team.

Nick David ’07 is the head coach of the Mound Westonka High School football team.

Nick David ’07 wasn’t going to attend Gustavus Adolphus College. The Morristown, Minn. native was all set to report to football training camp at Winona State University, but changed his mind just days before packing his bags. Instead of heading to the bluffs of Southeast Minnesota, he came west to the Minnesota River Valley. Twelve years later the decision has proven to be a wise one, as David has taken the lessons he learned at Gustavus and is now passing them on to the next generation of students and athletes in the Westonka School District.

After practicing and playing at Gustavus for the Minnesota Football Coaches Association All-Star Game as a high school senior, David realized that he’d find a better fit with the relationships, support, and community at the smaller college. “It was the best choice I could have made,” he said.

Former Gustavus Head Football Coach Jay Schoenebeck ‘80 described David’s unexpected arrival to Gustavus just a few days before fall camp. “He came walking into Lund Center and said ‘Coach, I think I made a mistake,’” Schoenebeck recalled. David enrolled at Gustavus the same day.

He didn’t look back. A force on the field at Gustavus, David was a four-year starter on the defensive line for the Golden Gusties. Selected twice as an all-conference honoree in the Minnesota Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (MIAC), he is also one of the few players voted in as a two-year captain of the Gustavus football team.

“You look for players like Nick who are going to be great leaders and then everything else takes care of itself,” Schoenebeck said.

An elementary education major and coaching minor at Gustavus, David worked with children by coaching youth football, volunteering with Big Partner Little Partner, and coordinating the National Youth Sports Program through the education department. He also volunteered for the Special Olympics, was a member of the Tau Psi Omega fraternity, and worked as a student supervisor in the weight room.

David was also heavily involved in the education department and credits his professors with much of his success. He’s especially thankful for the close level of personal interaction that exists between faculty and students and the real-world scenarios that are explored in the classroom. “I’ve talked to a lot of new teachers and I feel like I was more prepared than a lot of other college students,” he said. “The preparation that I received was second to none.”


David (53) was a two-time All-MIAC selection as a defensive lineman.

After graduation, David moved to Los Angeles with his future wife, Melissa, where he taught for two and a half years at a private elementary school. The couple moved back to Minnesota in 2010 and he took a position as a fifth grade teacher in the Montgomery-Lonsdale (now Tri-City United) School District. David, who holds a master’s degree in education from Saint Mary’s University and administrative licensure from the University of Minnesota, is currently in his third year as the dean of students at Grandview Middle School and head football coach at Mound Westonka High School.

At Mound Westonka, David took over the coaching duties for a football team that had gone ten years without winning more than two games in a season. After winning one and two games his first two years, David’s White Hawks went 8-0 during the 2015 regular season en route to a Twin Cities Red Subdistrict title, the school’s first league championship in 40 years and first winning season since 1980. The White Hawks averaged 36.3 points per game while allowing only 7.1 points per game. They also forced 44 turnovers, the most in Minnesota high school football this season.

Mound Westonka lost their only game of the season to Richfield in the section playoffs, falling 23-22 in an overtime heartbreaker.

But David isn’t just interested in winning. “Coaching is a direct extension of the classroom,” he said. He hopes his student-athletes take away lessons about sacrifice, hard work, selflessness, and mental toughness. “We’re demanding as a coaching staff, but we’ve grown by leaps and bounds in the last couple years,” he added.

David addresses his team.

David addresses his Mound Westonka team.

“Nick has a tremendous work ethic. He’s a great leader, kids respond to him, and he’s tough, but fair,” Schoenebeck said. “He’s the kind of guy who needs to be coaching our young people today. He is going to have a successful career and impact a lot of students and players in his tenure.”

David and Schoenebeck still keep in regular contact. Both Gusties are appreciative of the close-knit Gustavus community and the support that it provides to students and alumni alike.

“The thing I love most about Gustavus is how many opportunities it offers,” David said. “I hope people understand that it’s a special place.”

“Just look at what our graduates do,” Schoenebeck added.


Media Contact: Director of Media Relations and Internal Communication JJ Akin


One Comment

  1. John Clementson says:

    Great article about a good man. Congrats Nick!