Coach Collins brings a wealth of experience as the leader of the
'Rocker football team --- along with some familiarity of the program and
institution --- as he was previously the defensive coordinator for SD
Mines in 2002 under former head coach Darren Soucy.
With 16 years collegiate football coaching experience, Collins served at Portland State University before taking over as head of the Hardrocker football program in 2012, an NCAA Div. I FCS
program, where he was the assistant head coach and special teams
coordinator. Prior to that, he spent three seasons with Central
Washington University (NCAA Div. II) as the special teams coordinator
and linebacker/defensive line coach.
The Hardrocker head coach's career also included stops at
Southern Oregon University in 2007 (defensive coordinator), Idaho State
from 2005-06 (linebackers coach), Western Washington from 2003-04
(linebackers coach) and Western Oregon from 1998-2002 (special teams
coordinator and linebackers coach). In addition, he spent time in Europe
on the coaching staff of the Vienna Vikings (Austria) European League
football team as the defensive coordinator and interim head coach from
Collins played college football at Western Oregon from 1993-97 as a
linebacker, graduating with a degree in physical education (1998) and
then a Master's in education in 2001.
Collins, a native of Sutherlin, Ore., has been married to his wife,
Mandi since July 2002. The couple has four daughters, Kayla (10),
Mackenzie (8), and Kylee (2) and newborn Mackenna.
|Offensive Coordinator / Assistant Head Coach / Quarterbacks & Running Backs Coach
Tinker brings a considerable amount of football coaching experience
to Rapid City. He joined the Hardrockers after a very successful stint at
Eastern Oregon University in La Grande, Ore., where he was the
assistant head coach as well as the offensive and recruiting coordinator
(2008-2011). Tinker spent four seasons with the Eastern Oregon
Mounties, a NAIA Div. I institution. While there Tinker also served as
the quarterbacks coach and wide receivers coach.
Tinker also made coaching stops at Southern Oregon University in
Ashland, Ore., and Western Washington University in Bellingham, Wash.
Over that time he has served as the special teams coordinator and wide
receivers coach (2007) at Southern Oregon and was the offensive line
coach, tight ends coach and recruiting coordinator at Western Washington
" I've had the opportunity to work with Coach Tinker at two different
universities and I couldn't be more excited to have him take the reins
of our offense," Collins said. "He is a tremendous coach and an even
better person. He is professional and passionate and will be
instrumental in helping lead our program into Division II football."
As an offensive asset to the Hardrockers, Tinker believes the key to
football success is being able to make in-game adjustments, being
flexible and to attack personnel match-ups to name a few. He believes an
aggressive game plan will net positive results.
|Defensive Coordinator / Defensive Backs Coach
Dodson brings with him an impressive resume full of college football
experience --- not only on the defensive side of the ball, but for the
game of football in general. As a defensive coordinator at the
University of South Dakota in 2008, Dodson helped guide the Coyotes'
defense to a No. 1 ranking in the Great West Conference (NCAA Div. I).
Before becoming a Hardrocker, Dodson was the assistant defensive coordinator at Old
Dominion University (Norfolk, Va.) in 2011 and the secondary coach in
2010. In 2009 he was the special teams co-coordinator and defensive back
coach for the University of Buffalo in New York.
Dodson was at the University of South Dakota from 2004-2008. Along
with defensive coordinator duties, Dodson also held the position of
special teams coordinator (2006-2007), offensive passing game
coordinator and receivers coach (2005-2006) and was the secondary coach
in 2004. And as a graduate assistant at USD from 1998-2000, Dodson
helped coach the defensive backs.
During his time at USD, Dodson was chosen as a finalist for the
American Football Coaches Association (AFCA) Assistant Coach of the Year
Award in 2007 and 2008 --- once as special teams coordinator and the
other as defensive coordinator. While on the Coyotes' coaching staff,
Dodson helped the Coyotes lead the conference in scoring offense,
scoring defense, kickoff return defense and kickoff return average in
each respective season.
Dodson was also a standout cornerback for the Coyotes in 1996 and
1997, graduating with a bachelor's degree in recreation (1999) then
received his master's degree in health and physical education in 2000,
again from USD.
Prior to joining the USD coaching staff , Dodson was the defensive
coordinator and special teams coordinator at Michigan Tech University
Coach Ackerman is the Hardrocker offensive line coach. He spent
time at Humboldt State, serving as tight ends coach and a graduate
assistant from 2010-11. In his playing days, Ackerman was an outstanding
offensive lineman at the University of Nevada - Reno (NCAA Div. I)
where he started 28 games and earned All-Western Athletic Conference
honors, as well as the Striker Award for Athletic Performance during his
senior year. Ackerman has also spent time in the professional ranks,
competing in the Indoor Football League for the Reno Barons (Nev.) and
the Tri-Cities Fever (Wash.) from 2010-11.
|Linebackers Coach / Strength and Conditioning Coordinator
Coach Polastri came to SD Mines from Chadron State (Neb.) where he
was coaching the defensive line and was an assistant strength and
conditioning coach. Originally from Sacramento, Calif., Polastri played
college football at American River College (Calif.) and then transferred
to Concord University (Va.). He began his coaching career as a
student-assistant before taking the defensive coordinator position at
American River College in 2007. He was then a graduate assistant in 2008
at the University of Nebraska -Kearney and joined the strength and
conditioning staff at the University of Wisconsin (NCAA Div. I) in 2009.
Polastri also earned experienced in 2010 coaching defensive backs at
Fort Lewis College (Colo.) before signing on at Chadron.
Lonnie Messick returns to the South Dakota School of Mines after
spending a year as a the linebackers coach at Northwestern Oklahoma
State in Alva, Okla. Lonnie becomes the new outside linebackers coach
for the Hardrockers.
Messick was the special teams coordinator and linebackers coach for
the Hardrockers from 2006-2011. Prior to working at South Dakota Mines,
Messick worked as the linebackers coach at Kent State University
(Canton, Ohio) from 2002-2005. From 1998-2002, he was the head coach at
Hargrave Military Academy (Chatham, Va.) and prior to that he was the
head coach and athletics director at Marine Military Academy in
Harlingen, Texas. In 1995-96 he was the assistant head coach and
defensive coordinator for the Fredericksburg Generals (Fredericksburg,
Va.) of the Mason-Dixon Football League.
He has an extensive past with the United States Armed Forces. He was
an officer in the US Marine Corps and coached at the US Naval Academy.
Messick was the head coach of the varsity lightweight football team from
1985-1988 and served as head coach for the USMC interservice football
in Pearl Harbor, Ha., Camp Pendleton, Calif., and Parris Island, S.C.
Messick retired from the Marine Corps in 1997 as a Lieutenant
Colonel following 28 years in the service. essick graduated from the
University of Oklahoma in 1969 with a bachelor's degree in education. He
and his wife Virginia reside in Rapid City. Their family includes
daughter Jessica and son Scott and his wife Deirdre and twins Jake and
Matt, and daughter Caroline.
|Defensive Line Coach
Booker joins the Hardrockers
after serving two years on the Missouri S&T staff, where he served as the
defensive line coach in 2011 and linebacker coach in 2012.
Booker also served a stint at Western Washington University
in Bellingham, Wash., where he was the defensive line coach for the Vikings and
assisted the defensive unit on run defense adjustments and pass protection
schemes, while also managing the team’s video personnel. He also handled the
administrative support for recruiting multi-cultural students and athletes at
Prior to his term at Western Washington, Booker has coached
at the University of Idaho, San Diego State University (Calif.), Montana State
University and Cal Polytechnic State University (Calif.), handling the
defensive line coaching duties at each of those stops. Booker was also an
assistant coach at Saint Monica Catholic High School in California, where
coordinated the defensive line and served as the team’s academic advisor.
“George has worked at a multiple NCAA Div. II Institutions that incorporate a
high academic standard,” Collins said. “The same type of student-athlete that
we desire here at South Dakota Mines. It’s nothing new for him.”
In addition, Booker served for three seasons in the National
Football League’s Billl Walsh Coaching Fellowship, spending the 1998 and 1999
summers with the Minnesota Vikings and 2002 with the Dallas Cowboys.
Booker was an all-league performer as a defensive tackle and center at Saint Monica Catholic during his high school career and was an all-league defensive
tackle at Western Washington in 1992, where he earned his bachelor’s degree in
exercise science and recreation in 1993.
George is married to his wif, Teddy since 2012 and has three children, Elijah, 15; Sydnee, 13;
and Chloe, 11.
|Director of Football Operations / Special Teams Assistant
Greg Hodgin is a native of Rapid City where he played football for
the Rapid City Stevens Raiders, graduating in 1999. This will be Greg's
fourth season coaching at the college level with the Hardrockers.
This past June Greg married his fiancé Linda and are living happily with their two kids -- Natalie (age 8) and Ava (age 5).
Greg was the running backs coach for the last three years and was
proud to coach the Hardrockers all-time leading rusher Jamie Dale, who
played professional football in Germany.
"I am excited for the opportunity to help the Hardrockers in any way I
can and I am glad to be here at South Dakota School of Mines."
Scott Baird is a 1997 graduate of Dakota Wesleyan University and is in
his fifth year as head athletic trainer at South Dakota School of Mines
and Technology. Before joining the School of Mines Athletic Department,
he was an athletic trainer for the University of Wyoming where he
covered both men's rugby and lacrosse. He brings much knowledge and
experience to the SD School of Mines Sports Medicine Team. Scott has been
married to Becky, a Physical Therapist in Rapid City, for 17 years and
have twin girls -- Braedyn and Blakely.