Longtime Juniata College coaching veteran Tim Launtz is entering his eighth season at the helm of the Juniata College football program. He continues to rebuild the Eagle football legacy roaming the sidelines at the helm of the program he was a part of as both an undergraduate and for 15 years as an assistant coach. He became the 22nd head coach in Juniata football history, after being named to the position on March 2, 2011.
The job was a dream-come-true for Launtz. The man doesn't just bleed blue and gold; Juniata is part of his DNA.
In the year of the 40th anniversary of the 1973 Stagg Bowl, the first ever NCAA Division III national championship game in which Juniata played, the 2013 Eagles earned the most wins since 1990, finishing with a 7-4 overall and 6-3 Centennial Conference record, and the most conference wins since 1999. Juniata returned to the postseason for the first time since the historic 1973 game with an Eastern College Athletic Conference (ECAC) South Bowl appearance against Albright College.
Along with eight All-Centennial selections, including Defensive Player of the Year, Launtz was named Centennial Coach of the Year for the teams’ performance.
The success of 2013 come on the heels of a 3-7 seasons during which Juniata earned its first win streak in a decade after pulling out back-to-back home wins against McDaniel (24-7) and Moravian (14-6) on October 27 and November 3. This marked the first win streak for the Eagles since 2002 and the first in Huntingdon since 1997.
The success of the team came from hardwork and dedication to Launtz’s vision and was evident in the individual accomplishments. Over 10 Eagles finished the season ranked nationally and four were named to all-conference teams. Included in the foursome was the first Eagle to earn first-team all-conference under Launtz and his first Eastern College Athletic Conference (ECAC) All-Star.
In his first season as head coach Launtz guided the Eagles to a 1-9 record, but the record would be only part of the story. Launtz’s squad – young, few in numbers, and guided by a freshman quarterback on offense – showed steady improvement over the course of the season. Launtz’s ceaseless emphasis on preparation, morale, and character eventually began to take root on the team, and optimism became the prevailing mood among the Eagles: their time may not be here yet, but it’s coming. Soon.
Those elements all converged in Juniata’s regular season finale against archrival Susquehanna University. The Eagles capped the 2011 campaign with a dramatic 17-16 win over a Crusader squad that entered the game with a 6-3 record, returning The Goalpost – the trophy in the long-standing rivalry between the two schools – to Huntingdon for the first time since it was lost to Susquehanna in 2008.
A Huntingdon native, Launtz grew up in the shadow of Founders Hall and College Hill before Juniata College became his alma mater.
"I understand what I'm entering into because I know the history here at Juniata, but I also know because of that history what we need to do here at Juniata to be successful," Launtz said. "I want us to be successful in terms of wins-and-losses, but it's also important for our student athletes to be successful educationally and in their communities."
Launtz was named head coach after his seventh season as Juniata’s quarterbacks coach – a capacity that cemented his reputation for developing quarterbacks. He helped develop a pair of freshman signal callers, including Juniata’s all-time passing yardage and completions leader Jay Leonard (2005-08). Launtz built the Big Spring High School-product into the most prolific passer ever seen on College Hill; Leonard tallied 7,610 yards passing over his four years, smashing the previous record of 6,215 yards set by Greg Troutman from 2001 to 2004 – and coached in his final season by Launtz.
Before becoming a mentor to Eagle quarterbacks Launtz coached Juniata's receiving corps, helping Matt Eisenberg to MAC Offensive Player of the Year and First Team All-America honors in 1999 with 76 receptions for 1,547 yards. Juniata's last two All-Americans were both coached by Launtz - Eisenberg, and linebacker Josh Seiders, whom he coached in 2000 as Juniata's defensive coordinator and linebackers coach.
In the past, Launtz has worked as the wide receivers (2009, 1996-99) and special teams coach (1997-99) and coached defensive backs from 2001 to 2003.
A 1980 Juniata graduate, Launtz transferred to College Hill from Lock Haven University and began his coaching career while still attending college. He served as a volunteer assistant coach at Huntingdon Area High School during his time final two years at Juniata, after a back injury ended his playing career.
After graduating from Juniata with a bachelor's degree in social studies, Launtz worked as the head coach of the West Branch High School football program for two years. He guided the Warriors during the 1980-81 and 1981-82 school years.
Launtz joined the administrative staff at Juniata in 2000 from the State Correctional Institution at Huntingdon, were he was a unit manager. He was employed by the correctional institution for 17 years. He resides in Huntingdon with his wife, Kristy. The couple has one daughter, Megan, a 2003 graduate of Juniata College.
Coach Launtz can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.