Dr. Kent Kessinger came to Ottawa University in 2004 as head football coach and currently ranks second all-time in Ottawa University in football victories. His nearly 30 years in higher education has taken him from Kansas, to Minnesota, to South Dakota, and back to Kansas. As head football coach for the Braves, Dr. Kessinger has led the Braves football team to 4 KCAC Championships (2009, 2011, 2012 and 2014) and 6 trips to the NAIA Football Championship Series (2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013 and 2014). Dr. Kessinger was the American Football Coaches Association Region 3 Coach of the Year in 2009, as well as, earning KCAC Coach of the Year honors in 2009, 2011, and 2014. His 2011 football team was honored with the Buffalo Funds Five Star Champions of Character Award by the NAIA.
Prior to coming to Ottawa University, Kessinger served as assistant football coach and offensive coordinator at Augustana College (now Augustana University) in Sioux Falls, SD and graduate assistant coach at Minnesota State University – Mankato. While on staff at MSUM, the Mavericks won the 1993 North Central Conference Championship in NCAA Division II.
Dr. Kessinger is a transplanted native of Kansas, growing up in Lindsborg, KS and completing his undergraduate degree a Bethany College graduating Cum Laude in Biology. At Bethany College he played on football teams that won the KCAC Championship 3 times (1988, 1990 and 1991) and was named to the All-KCAC football team in 1989, 1990 and 1991. Kessinger was also a member of the NAIA All-District 10 and NAIA All-American teams in 1990 and 1991. He also earned NAIA Scholar-Athlete awards in 1990 and 1991. In 2001, Kessinger was inducted into the Bethany College Hall of Honor.
Dr. Kessinger a master’s degree in the Minnesota State University-Mankato’s Department of Human Performance in Physical Education with a concentration in Preventative and Rehabilitative Cardiovascular Health. In 2020, he earned his PhD in Health and Human Performance from Concordia University – Chicago. The majority of his teaching experience has been at Augustana University in Sioux Falls, SD and Ottawa University. While at both institutions he has taught several courses in the Physical Education and Exercise Science majors. Dr. Kessinger’s teaching experience includes: Kinesiology, Biomechanics, Introduction to Stress Management, Methods of Coaching Football, Psychology and Sociology of Sport, Introduction to Nutrition, and Sports Nutrition. He is a published author with articles in Strategies (Journal for Physical and Sport Educators), Translational Journal of the ACSM, and the Journal of Sport Rehabilitation.
His wife, Amy, is a Associate Director of Financial Aid at Ottawa University. Together, they have two children Courtney and Caleb.