Mark Dufner was named head football coach at the University of Minnesota Crookston prior to the 2017 season. Dufner has been a staple on U of M Crookston's football sidelines over the last 15 seasons. He's served in a variety of capacities for the program.
Dufner spent the last five seasons as defensive coordinator and linebackers coach for Minnesota Crookston. Under his leadership, the Golden Eagles have continually seen improvement on the defensive side of the ball. In 2016, his defense forced 18 turnovers and notched 18 sacks and 60 tackles for loss. Last season, he helped redshirt freshman Will Cross to an All-NSIC Honorable Mention nod as he led the team with 90 tackles and also tallied seven tackles for loss.
In total, Dufner helped coach six student-athletes to seven All-NSIC awards in his most recent seasons as defensive coordinator, including Cross (2016), Lethzee Calderon (2015), Drew Selvestra (2014) and Tevin Kellum (2013) for All-NSIC Honorable Mention honors. In addition, Andrew Hall was a two-time All-NSIC award winner. Hall earned All-NSIC Second Team in 2013 and All-NSIC Honorable Mention in 2014.
Dufner was also one of the guiding forces behind one of the most impressive defensive seasons by a player in program history. He helped senior Greg Lofquist in 2014 fall camp transition from defensive end to linebacker. Lofquist finished with a school record 160 tackles in a season, 13.5 tackles for loss and four sacks. Lofquist's efforts would earn him All-NSIC First Team honors, as well as Don Hansen All-Super Region 3 and Beyond Sports Network All-Super Region 3 accolades.
Dufner also served as defensive coordinator from 2005-10. In those five seasons he helped 10 student-athletes to 11 All-NSIC awards including Justin Reed, an All-NSIC Second Team pick in 2005 and Zach Coauette, an All-NSIC Second Team pick in 2006.
In addition to his stints as defensive coordinator, he served as recruiting coordinator (2002-11), camp coordinator (2004-05), special teams coordinator (2002-03) and equipment manager (2004-07, 2011-12). Dufner, also has coached four position groups during his 15 years at Minnesota Crookston which include linebackers, safeties, running backs, and tight ends. Lastly, he's served as interim head coach (2010 and 2017).
As a position coach, Dufner coached Luon Spearman and Reed to All-NSIC Second Team nods and Ricky Jacobs, Brody Davidson, and Adam Grunzke to All-NSIC Honorable Mention selections. He was also instrumental in the coaching and recruitment of Cecil Brown, Jr., who was named All-NSIC Second team as a senior.
Dufner coached under four football coaches at Minnesota Crookston in his 15 years and has been the one constant for Golden Eagle football. He has been vital in creating continuity amongst change during his tenure at U of M Crookston.
Dufner came to Minnesota Crookston after 10 years at the high school level. He got his start at Valley City High School in Valley City, N.D., where he taught and coached for seven years. He was defensive coordinator for a year, special teams coordinator for five years and the head eighth grade coach. Dufner moved on to Moorhead High School where he taught and was an assistant coach for two seasons.
During his time at the high school level, he also volunteered at camps at Valley City State University.
He got his introduction to the coaching profession as a student coach at his alma mater Valley City State in 1991, where he helped coach the linebackers and defensive ends.
On top of being a football coach, Dufner is a long time educator. Since 2002 he's been a mathematics instructor for Minnesota Crookston. Prior to that he taught math at Moorhead High School, Valley City State University, Valley City High School and Minot State University.
Dufner, a native of Maddock, N.D., was a college football player at Valley City State University. He was an inside linebacker for the Vikings, earning Academic All-American twice. He earned his Bachelor of Science degree in mathematics education and physical education from Valley City State University in 1992. He went on to obtain his Master of Arts degree from Minot State University in mathematics in 1998. Dufner lives in Crookston with his wife Sheila.