Mike Gardner

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Mike Gardner
Sport(s) Football
Current position
Title Head coach
Team Tabor
Conference KCAC
Record 79–32
Biographical details
Born (1967-03-09) March 9, 1967 (age 51)
Roeland Park, Kansas
Playing career
1986–1990 Baker
Position(s) Kicker
Coaching career (HC unless noted)
1990–1993 Hastings (ST/RC)
1993–1996 Bethel (KS) (QB/TE/WR)
1996–1999 Lindenwood (ST)
2000 Lindenwood (DC)
2001–2003 Tabor (DC)
2004–2005 Tabor
2006–2009 Malone
2010–present Tabor
Head coaching record
Overall 104–50
Bowls 1–2
Tournaments 3–5 (NAIA playoffs)
Accomplishments and honors
5 KCAC (2004–2005, 2015–2017)
KCAC Coach of the Year [1] (2004, 2005, 2012, 2015)
AFCA NAIA Assistant Coach of the Year (2003)
AFLAC Assistant Coach of the Year (2003)

Michael Norman Gardner (born March 9, 1967)[2] is currently the coach at Tabor College in Hillsboro, Kansas. Having left Tabor for Malone in 2006, Gardner was chosen to replace Mike Gottsch after Tabor's winless 2009 season.[3] Gardner's teams achieved post-season play for his first five years as a head coach at the college level—the first two years qualifying for the NAIA playoffs and the next three years to the Victory Bowl.

Coaching history[edit]

Assistant coaching[edit]

Gardner began in coaching as Special Teams and Recruiting Coordinator at Hastings College from 1990 to 1993. He later held assistant coaching positions at Bethel College (Kansas), Lindenwood University, and Tabor College.


In 2004, he became the head coach at Tabor College and held that position until 2006. During his time at Tabor his teams won two conference championships and advanced to the national playoffs.


Gardner was named head coach at Malone College following the 2006 season. His team at Malone began the 2008 season ranked #24 in the NAIA pre-season poll.[4] Following the lackluster 4-6 2009 season at Malone, Gardner resigned to clear the way for his return to Tabor. He stated “I wasn’t looking for an opportunity to go by any means,” Gardner said. “This just presented itself."[5]

Gardner was the fifth football coach in Malone's history, and his coaching record at Malone was 25–18.[6][7]


Gardner returned to Tabor starting with the 2010 season and led the team to a record of 4 wins and six losses, finishing sixth in the conference. Counting his previous two years coaching at Tabor, he is now the winningest coach in the history of the program.[8] Gardner continued success at Tabor, taking his team to the NAIA quarterfinals in the 2015 season and again earning conference Coach of the Year honors. As of 2015, Gardner has been named Coach of the Year in the conference for four of his eight years at Tabor.[9]

Playing career[edit]

Gardner played college football for NAIA school Baker University in Baldwin City, Kansas from 1986 to 1990, where he held a school record 53 yard field goal that was broken in 2007.[10] He was an All-American each of his last three years at Baker[11]


Gardner served as the Defensive Coordinator at Tabor from 2001 to 2003 and helped guide the Bluejays to their first-ever NAIA national playoff appearance in 2003 and a #15 NAIA national ranking. He was named the AFCA NAIA Assistant Coach of the Year and the AFLAC Assistant Coach of the Year for the 2003 season. His 2003 defense ranked 11th in the final NAIA statistics while his 2002 team ranked an impressive second overall. In 2005, Gardner was named Kansas Collegiate Athletic Conference "Co-Coach" of the year along with Saint Mary coach Lance Hinson.[12] He earned the honor again after the 2012 campaign, this time holding the award as sole recipient.[13]

As a player, Gardner was a three-time NAIA All-American and a four-time All-Conference selection while at Baker University (KS) and he played for a national championship in 1986. He has been involved in 10 national playoff games as a player and eight as a coach and his 2005 Tabor squad won its first-round playoff contest.

Personal life[edit]

Gardner is a 1990 graduate of Baker University with a Bachelor's Degree in Physical Education. He later earned a Master of Arts in Teaching at Hastings College in 1993. Gardner and his wife have two children and live in Hillsboro.

He played junior high and high school football at Olathe South High School and Indian Trail Middle School in Olathe, Kansas plus his seventh grade year at Concordia Junior-Senior High School in Concordia, Kansas.

Head coaching record[edit]

Year Team Overall Conference Standing Bowl/playoffs NAIA Coaches'#
Tabor Bluejays (Kansas Collegiate Athletic Conference) (2004–2005)
2004 Tabor 9–2 8–1 1st L NAIA First Round 11[14]
2005 Tabor 11–1 9–0 1st L NAIA Quarterfinal 6[15]
Malone Pioneers (Mid-States Football Association) (2006–2009)
2006 Malone 7–4 4–2 T–2nd (Mideast) L Victory[16] 19[17]
2007 Malone 8–4 4–3 4th (Mideast) W Victory[18] 22[19]
2008 Malone 6–4 4–2 T–2nd (Mideast) L Victory 25[20]
2009 Malone 4–6 2–5 6th (Mideast)
Malone: 25–18 14–12
Tabor Bluejays (Kansas Collegiate Athletic Conference) (2010–present)
2010 Tabor 4–6 4–5 6th
2011 Tabor 3–7 2–7 8th
2012 Tabor 8–2 7–1 2nd 17[21]
2013 Tabor 10–3 7–2 2nd L NAIA Quarterfinal 11[22]
2014 Tabor 7–4 5–4 T–4th 24
2015 Tabor 11–2 9–0 1st L NAIA Quarterfinal 8
2016 Tabor 8–3 8–1 1st L NAIA First Round 12
2017 Tabor 8–2 8–1 T–1st 17
Tabor: 79–32 66–22
Total: 104–50
      National championship         Conference title         Conference division title or championship game berth


  1. ^ "KCAC Coach of the Year". KCACSports.com. 
  2. ^ Dannelly, Jason (December 1, 2009). "Gardner; Back to Tabor". Victory Sports Network. Archived from the original on December 17, 2009. 
  3. ^ "Malone football coach quits to return to Tabor". USA Today. December 12, 2009. 
  4. ^ "NAIA Pre-Season Rankings". National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics. 
  5. ^ Malone Football Coach Returns Home
  6. ^ "Malone Resignation Announcement". Malone Pioneers. 
  7. ^ DeLassus, David. "Malone Coaching Records". College Football Data Warehouse. Archived from the original on May 25, 2011. 
  8. ^ Kleinsasser, Joe (November 23, 2010). "Mike Gardner shows why he's TC's winningest coach". Hillsboro Free Press. Retrieved April 30, 2011. 
  9. ^ "2015 KCAC Football All-Conference Teams Announced". Kansas Collegiate Athletic Conference. November 17, 2015. Retrieved December 14, 2015. 
  10. ^ http://signal.baldwincity.com/section/sports/story/6744[permanent dead link]
  11. ^ American Football Monthly - Rodeo Circuit - February 2004
  12. ^ KCAC Sports "2005 Football All-Conference Selections" November 21, 2005
  13. ^ "2012 KCAC Football All-Conference Teams and Individual Award Winners". KCACSports.com. November 12, 2012. Retrieved November 26, 2012. 
  14. ^ "2005 Football Postseason Football Ratings". National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics. 
  15. ^ Malone College : Head Coach Archived 2007-08-24 at the Wayback Machine.
  16. ^ Malone Game by Game Results
  17. ^ 2006 NAIA Football Postseason Final Rating :: Sioux Falls (S.D.) Claims No. 1 After Win in Title Game
  18. ^ Malone College : 2007 Schedule/Results Archived October 21, 2008, at the Wayback Machine.
  19. ^ 2007 NAIA Football Top 25 Coaches' Poll Announced - #10 :: Final regular season poll has Sioux Falls (S.D.) at No. 1 for 11th straight week
  20. ^ [1] Football Top 25 Coaches’ Poll – Final Regular Season (November 16, 2008)
  21. ^ "Top 25 - Final". National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics. November 11, 2012. 
  22. ^ "Top 25 - Final". National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics. November 17, 2013. Retrieved December 7, 2013. 

External links[edit]