Trine puts focus on growing athletic program

January 13, 2015

Trine University has promoted a longtime coach to direct its growing athletics program. As part of the restructuring, a seasoned assistant coach will take the helm of Thunder football.

Matt LandMatt Land, who has served as head football coach since 2006 and athletic director since 2012, has accepted the new role of assistant vice president for athletics, effective immediately. In this new administrative role, Land teams with other campus officers to coordinate all facets of the athletics program. These collaborative efforts include recruitment and retention of student-athletes, and fundraising, program development and day-to-day leadership for athletics.

Troy AbbsTroy Abbs, who has served as assistant coach/defensive coordinator under Land, has been named head coach of the football team.

“Matt has done an excellent job serving in both roles and now he will be able to focus strictly on an administrative role as he oversees the athletics program,” said Earl D. Brooks II, Ph.D., Trine president. “Troy has been a part of the program for years. He will ensure a smooth transition and maintain the quality of Trine football.

“As we grow, we want to be sure we provide support and quality facilities to offer our student-athletes the best experience academically and athletically,” Brooks said.

With Trine’s rapid growth in enrollment and student-athletes, the university has been expanding and enhancing athletic facilities. Last week, Trine announced the construction of a new softball stadium with SportONE/Parkview Softball Field and the Ben Davis Memorial Press Box. Recent additions and enhancements include:

  • Zollner Athletic Stadium for football, lacrosse and soccer, completed in 2010
  • Jannen Field for baseball, completed in 2010
  • Keith E. Busse/Steel Dynamics Inc. Athletic Recreation, a multi-purpose, sports complex with an indoor 200-meter track, tennis courts, volleyball, baseball/softball cages, basketball, indoor soccer, lacrosse and more, completed in spring 2009
  • The planned construction of more courts at Ryan Tennis Courts

“I’m excited about the new position and new challenges as I manage our rapidly growing athletics program with more than 600 student-athletes,” Land said. “My priority is ensuring a quality program and experience for our dedicated student-athletes.”

Land had been head coach of football at Trine since 2006. Before that, he was head coach of football at Fort Wayne South Side High School from 2002 to 2005 and was head coach of the Fort Wayne Freedom, a Continental Indoor Football League team, from 2003 to 2006.

Land is confident in the abilities of new head coach Abbs, who had served as assistant coach/defensive coordinator since 2006.

“We started this venture of Thunder football nine years ago and Troy has been an integral part. I’m confident and excited to have such a veteran coach lead our football program,” Land said.

Land bio

  • Master in education, Walden University, Baltimore
  • Bachelor of Science, Ball State University, Muncie, Ind.
  • 2008 and 2010 North Regional Coach of the Year
  • 2008 AFCA Region 4 Coach of the Year
  • 2008, 2009 and 2010 Michigan Intercollegiate Athletic Association Conference Champions
  • 2008, 2009 and 2010 NCAA Playoff Participant
  • Current chair of MIAA men’s tennis committee
  • Event organizer for hosting of 2012 National College Athletic Association Women’s Golf National Championship, 2012 and 2013 MIAA Softball Championship, 2013 and 2014 Division III Softball Regional, 2012 MIAA Baseball Championship
  • 2011-2012 American Football Coaches Association All-American Team National Chair

Abbs bio

  • Master of Science, Indiana University, Bloomington, Ind.
  • Bachelor of Science, Hanover College, Hanover, Ind.
  • As defensive coordinator at Trine, the Thunder have finished in the top three of the MIAA in scoring defense and had the  top scoring defense in 2009
  • His defensive schemes have produced 17 First-Team All-MIAA defensive performers
  • Defensive line coach, Fort Wayne Freedom, 2006 and 2008
  • Various roles, including defensive coordinator, Fort Wayne Carroll High School, 1999-2005
  • Assistant coach, East Noble High School, 1998

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