Rik Dahl is entering his 9th season as the head coach of Northwestern College's wrestling team in 2016-17. Dahl is a former All-American ('97) at Northwestern College who returned to Orange City with the intentional mission of building a championship team. More important to Coach Dahl and his family is to use wrestling as a vehicle to invest in young men’s lives.
As a student at Northwestern College, Dahl was a team captain on the 1997 wrestling team that finished eighth at the NAIA Championships, the highest finish for a Red Raider squad. Dahl was a semi-finalist and took sixth place under Coach Paul Bartlett. Dahl studied elementary education while at Northwestern and later received his Master of Arts from the University of Colorado in Administrative Leadership and Policy Studies. Dahl reflects on his time at Northwestern, “I was challenged to be a better man, and during my time on campus I grew as a student, as an athlete, and most importantly, I grew in my faith.”
Dahl desires to use his experience at Northwestern as a student-athlete and the wisdom he gained later on as a coach, teacher and principal, to grow young men who will make a difference in the world beyond their time on campus. To communicate his vision, Dahl uses the phrase, “The Raider Way”, which encourages his athletes to accept responsibility, reject passivity, lead courageously and expect the greater reward. Dahl believes wrestling provides a great setting that teaches young men what it takes to impact the Kingdom in every day life.
Under Dahl's leadership, the Red Raiders have sent 51 wrestlers to the NAIA National Tournament and crowned six All-Americans. Dahl's leadership is also evident off the mat as his 2009 and 2011 teams were crowned the NAIA Champions of Character for their impact in and around the Northwestern Community. Ten of Dahl's wrestlers have been recognized as Academic All-Americans. His 2010 and 2012 teams placed 10th and 8th respectively in the country for highest GPA in the NAIA. He has also coached seven NAIA Scholar-Athletes at Northwestern, who have achieved a minimum 3.5 GPA.
Dahl and his wife of 21 years, Amy (Schmidt, ’93), happily reside in Orange City where they raise five busy kids; Elijah, Joshua, Matthew, Abigail, and Grace. The Dahl’s view the wrestlers as their extended family and enjoy opening their home and lives to the team.