skip navigation

Verndale Head Coach Mike Mahlen To Receive John Gagliardi Legacy Award

By MN Chapter of the National Football Foundation, 07/19/23, 9:30AM CDT



MINNEAPOLIS, Minn. – July 19, 2023 –  Verndale head coach Mike Mahlen has been named this year’s recipient of the John Gagliardi Legacy Award by the Minnesota Chapter of the National Football Foundation. Mahlen will be honored during the upcoming Minnesota Football Honors television broadcast. 

Mike Mahlen has built one of the most successful high school football programs in Minnesota. Mahlen, who is entering his 55th season as Verndale’s head coach, became the first coach in state high school history to win 400 games. Through the 2022 season, Mahlen’s career coaching record sits at 426-128-3. Mahlen has led Verndale to a pair of state championships, three runner-up finishes and 17 regional championships over the past 54 seasons. 

“Mike Mahlen has built one of the most sustainable and successful programs in our state over the past five decades. He has been extremely successful on the field, but the impact he continues to have on the lives of student-athletes is equally special,” said Todd Fultz, President of the Minnesota Chapter of the National Football Foundation. “It is amazing that he has won more than 400 games during his career at the helm of a 9-man program. It says so much about his coaching ability, leadership and commitment to developing student-athletes. We’re so excited to recognize him during our Minnesota Football Honors broadcast.”

Mahlen, who was inducted into the MFCA Hall of Fame in 2009, is a seven-time Section Coach of the Year, 13-time Pheasant Conference Coach of the Year, six-time Northland Conference Coach of the Year and five-time Park Region Conference Coach of the Year. He was also named a finalist for National Coach of the Year by the National High School Coaches Association (NHSACA). 

The John Gagliardi Legacy Award honors the late John Gagliardi, one of the greatest college football coaches of all time. The former Saint John’s head coach made a difference in the lives of many former players, coaches and fans. This annual award carries on his legacy by honoring the top coaches in Minnesota football history.

Minnesota Football Honors is hosting a show to honor this year’s high school, college and Minnesota Vikings award winners. An official broadcast date will be announced at a later date on


About the Minnesota Chapter of the National Football Foundation:

The Minnesota Chapter of The National Football Foundation and College Hall of Fame is a local nonprofit organization whose mission is to promote amateur football’s ability to develop leadership, sportsmanship, competitive spirit and academic excellence in Minnesota’s young people. The Minnesota Chapter recognizes legendary football icons, college football Hall of Famers and Minnesota’s top high school and college football scholar athletes. For more information, visit, or Facebook (@MNFootballHonors) and Twitter (@NFFMN).


Todd Fultz, President - Minnesota Chapter of the National Football Foundation

Phone: (612)-325-5500

Media Contact:

Daniel House, Director of Media Relations and Content

Minnesota Chapter of The National Football Foundation