In honor of a Midland coach who impacted players near and far, the Charles J. Strosacker Foundation has awarded Northwood University $500,000 to fund the David J. Arnold Football Endowment.
“This transformative gift will forever impact generations of players, coaches and staff — just as Dave Arnold has so profoundly and positively influenced countless Northwood University players and the entire Midland community,” stated President Kent MacDonald.
Arnold’s distinguished coaching career spans over five decades. He coached football at the high school, collegiate and professional levels. His last 12 years were as a volunteer assistant coach at Northwood University, where he worked alongside his son, EJ, the associate head coach and special teams coordinator for Northwood Football.
The purpose of the David J. Arnold Football Endowment is to enhance Northwood University’s football program with critical investments, including coaches’ salaries, coaching aids and equipment, academic aid to players, team travel and equipment.
“Dave Arnold has left an indelible mark on the sport of football in the United States, and we are grateful to the Charles J. Strosacker Foundation Board of Trustees for this generous gift that will allow Dave’s legacy to continue,” commented Northwood Athletic Director Jeff Curtis.
Arnold’s career highlights include coaching Pop Warner to the NFL, seven NFL Hall of Famers, and a Heisman trophy winner. In 1984, he led Montana State University to the IAA National Championship. He had two national championships at the University of Miami.
“This will be the first endowed athletics fund of its kind at Northwood, and it is hoped to be a catalyst for other athletic programs to follow,” explained Murray Kyte, vice president of Northwood University Advancement. “More importantly, it will honor a man who has given so much to the sport of football and to the Northwood and Midland communities.”
Each year, Northwood Football will recognize a player with the Dave Arnold Award. This player will be picked based on their involvement with the community, Northwood University, and the football team.
Arnold and his wife, Bobbie, were awarded the Robert and Patricia Naegele Distinguished Community Service Award during Northwood University’s Dec. 16, 2023, winter commencement.
During their address, David Arnold shared four points he believes in: Every day is a good day. The sun will come up every day, even if you’re not there to see it. You can survive in life if you have a positive mental attitude. Lastly, we have 86,400 seconds in each day — and we choose how we spend that time.
“I’m the luckiest man in the world,” he said. “For 53 years, I got to do something I loved. I did not feel I ever went to work a day in my life. It wasn’t work. It was passion. It was what I love, and it is what I still love … Whatever you do, whatever you wind up with, have that passion for your work.”
Arnold’s passion will indeed have an everlasting impact on the future of Northwood University’s football program.