The 2017 football season will mark Dennis Wagner’s first year as Briar Cliff’s head football coach.Wagner comes to Briar Cliff with experience at all levels of collegiate football, including 20-plus seasons at the NCAA Division I level.
Over the years, Wagner has helped produce numerous all-conference and all-American selections and a dozen of his linemen have been drafted into the National Football League, three of which have become All-Pros. Starting his coaching career in 1980, Wagner has an impressive coaching history that has led him to be a part of 10 NCAA bowl games and the second round of the FCS playoffs in 2014. He was twice named the Omaha World Herald’s Coach of the Year (1990, 1993).
As a coach, Wagner most recently finished up his fifth year at Liberty University, where he served as associate head coach and offensive line coach. Prior to that, he spent four seasons as the head coach at Western Carolina University. Wagner also spent four seasons at the University of Nebraska, serving as the Huskers’ offensive line coach from 2004-2007. From 1997-2003, he served as the assistant head coach and offensive line coach at Fresno State University.
Prior to joining the staff at Fresno State, Wagner spent seven seasons (1989-1995) as the head coach at Wayne State College in Wayne, Nebraska. There, he turned around the Wildcat program, compiling a 44-37-1 record in seven seasons. In 2005, he was inducted into the Wayne State College Athletic Hall of Fame.
Wagner’s other coaching stops included serving as the offensive coordinator and strength and conditioning coach at St. Cloud State (1985-1988), defensive line coach and assistant strength coach at the University of Nevada-Las Vegas (1984), offensive line coach and head track and field coach at William Penn College (1983), tight ends and offensive tackles coach at the University of Nevada-Las Vegas (1981-82) and offensive line coach at Luther College (1980).
Wagner and his wife, Cyndi, have two children, Whitney and Joshua.
Julian Lee is in his third season as an assistant coach on the Briar Cliff coaching staff. Lee was responsible for coaching the linebackers in 2015.
Eddie Ficklin is in his third year as an assistant coach for the Briar Cliff football team. Ficklin coached the defensive backs last past two seasons for the Chargers.
Ficklin played cornerback for the Chargers in 2012 and 2013, appearing in 19 games between the two seasons. He finished his Charger career with 93 tackles, eight pass breakups and two interceptions. Ficklin's best year was his senior season with 54 tackles, seven pass breakups and two interceptions, returning one for a TD.
Frank Rosegrant was named the interim head coach of the Briar Cliff football program on November 15, 2016. Rosegrant has been with the Chargers for one season and served as the special teams and defensive backs coach during the 2016 season.
Giles LaBelle is in his fourth season as the film coordinator for the Briar Cliff football team.