Joel Penner

Head Coach/Quarterbacks Coach

(712) 722-6311

Coaching Background

Penner was named the head coach of the Defender football program for the 2016 season and has guided the Defenders to a pair of five win seasons.

During his first season at Dordt, The Defender offense finished #1 in the GPAC and #5 in NAIA in total rushing yards per game (275.4). They also finished #3 in the GPAC in total offense per game (445.5), and #4 in scoring offense per game (32.4), both of which are school records. In 2016, Coach Penner produced a first-team All-American in Bryce Lidtka, who rushed for a school record, 1,714 years, ranking #1 in the NAIA in total rushing yards and rushing touchdowns (24). Penner also coached wide receiver Jason Miller, who finished second NAIA in total receiving yards (1311), breaking yet another Dordt record.  Jacob Cook, an offensive lineman, was named first-team All-American in 2017.

In Penner's two years at Dordt the Defenders have had five first-team all-GPAC players and eight players have been named NAIA Daktronics Scholar-Athletes.  

Coach Penner has 17 years of college football coaching experience with stops at Malone (Ohio), Northwestern College (Iowa), Trinity International (Illinois), Greenville (Illinois), and Pacific Lutheran (Washington).

Under Penner’s guidance, the Malone offense doubled in production over Penner’s first two years on the staff in 2012 and 2013. In 2013, the Pioneers averaged nearly 30 points and 400 yards of offense per game while also leading the GLIAC in red zone touchdown percentage. Penner was a part of a coaching staff that transitioned Malone from NAIA membership to NCAA Division II status.

While at Northwestern from 2009 to 2011, Penner coached an offense that averaged over 36 points and 420 yards per game during the 2011 season. In addition to crafting a strong Red Raider passing attack, he also developed a spread option ground game that was ranked third in the nation in 2010 with an average of 283 yards per contest. During Penner’s three years at Northwestern, 21 offensive players earned all-conference honors and four players were named NAIA All-Americans.

Coaching Philosophy

I love being involved in this game and the opportunity to share my passions with our players is a gift. My mission is to honor God in the way I steward the program, to build men, and to lead our players in a fight to compete fiercely out of a secure identity in Christ. 

Athletic Background

Competed in football and basketball at Centennial High School (Arizona) and Abbotsford Senior Secondary (British Columbia). Played tight end at Trinity International University.

Academic Background

B.A. in sports and wellness management – Trinity International in 2001

M.A. in Christian studies – Trinity International in 2004




Sons-Jacob and Caleb