Dale Widolff is in his 26th season as the Head Coach for Occidental College. During his tenure the program has compiled a regular-season record of 146-86-2, one of the best winning percentages of any NCAA III or NAIA school in the Western United States. Widolff ranks ninth among winningest active coaches in NCAA DIII. He has claimed 10 SCIAC titles, and advanced to the national playoffs on 6 occasions.
NCSA: How would you describe yourself as a coach?
Coach Widolff: I would describe myself as a passionate and compassionate coach. One cannot be highly successful in your life’s endeavors without being passionate. A coach who has compassion for his players will make decisions based upon what is best for the individual as well as for the team.
NCSA: What do recruits need to know about you?
Coach Widolff: Recruits need to understand that our program emphasizes treating everyone with respect.
NCSA: What do you look for in recruits?
Coach Widolff: For prospective recruits I look at their passion, work ethic, team first attitude, and at their desire to play early in their college career. Here, at Occidental College first year players have a great opportunity to play early in their career. The best players play!
NCSA: What is the one thing every recruit needs to do with the recruiting process?
Coach Widolff: During the recruiting process all recruits need to be proactive. Recruits need to initiate contact with the schools that interest them, rather than waiting for a college coach to contact them.
NCSA: What sort of questions do you really like to hear from recruits?
Coach Widolff: I think smart recruits should ask a coach like myself, “How will your program make my college experience better?” And, even more importantly, they should as a coach “How will playing college football impact my life after college?” Even though Occidental is a place where lots of freshmen earn starting positions, I think student-athletes who focus solely on playing time end up not choosing the best program for themselves.
NCSA: What turns you off when you’re recruiting a student athlete?
Coach Widolff: When recruiting a student athlete I get turned off when a recruit talks negatively about his high school coaches.
NCSA: What do you think your program is the most successful at?
Coach Widolff: Our program is most successful at getting highly motivated, talented, bright athletes to put the team’s success first while becoming a close knit team, a band of brothers.
NCSA: What’s unique about the experience at Occidental College?
Coach Widolff: The uniqueness of Occidental is that only a handful of small colleges in the country can successfully combine a rigorous, highly acclaimed academics program with a football program that consistently wins championships.
NCSA: Why should a recruit consider your program?
Coach Widolff: All recruits should consider Occidental if they want to be part of a championship level program while receiving one of the best educations in the county.