2015 Football
Record: 1-0 Home: 0-0 Away: 1-0 KCAC: 0-0
2015 Football Coaches
Mike Gardner Image
Mike Gardner
Head Coach- 8th Season


Email: [email protected]

Phone: 620-947-3121 ext. 1637









Coaching Background


Gardner is a 1990 graduate of Baker University where he was a three-time NAIA All-American kicker. In 1986, he played in the national championship game for the Wildcats.


Gardner brings 23 years of coaching experience into the 2014 season. He started his coaching career as the special teams and recruiting coordinator at Hastings (Neb.) College from 1990-1992. From 1993-1995, Gardner was the receivers and quarterbacks coach at Bethel College. From 1996-1999, he was the special teams and recruiting coordinator for Lindenwood (Mo.) University. He coached the defensive line in 1997, tight ends in 1998 and linebackers in 1999.  He then became the defensive coordinator for the Lions in 2000.


In 2001, Gardner came to Tabor as the defensive coordinator and coached the secondary under then head coach Tim McCarty. In 2003, he helped the Bluejays earn their first ever NAIA national playoff appearance and a No. 15 national ranking. That same year, Gardner was named the AFCA NAIA Assistant Coach of the Year and the AFLAC Assistant Coach of the Year. His stingy defenses at Tabor's were ranked 11th in the final NAIA statistics in 2003 and second in 2002.


In 2004, Gardner was named the head football coach at Tabor College. That year, the Bluejays finished 9-2, won their first ever KCAC Championship, went to the national playoffs and finished No. 14 in the final NAIA top 25 poll.


In 2005, the Bluejays finished the regular season with a record of 11-1, repeated as KCAC champions, won their 1st round NAIA national playoff game and eventually lost in quarterfinals. The success earned the Bluejays a No. 6 ranking in the final NAIA top 25 poll. After such a successful season, Gardner was listed in American Football Monthly as one of the top football coaches in 2005.


Gardner was lured away from Hillsboro in 2006, when he became the head coach for Malone (Ohio) University. Prior to his arrival, the Pioneers had not had a winning season in seven years. Gardner led a drastic turnaround for the program in his four years as head coach. The Pioneers posted a record of 7-4 in 2006, 8-4 in 2007, 6-4 in 2008 and 4-6 in 2009. During his tenure with the Pioneers, they were ranked 19th, 22nd and 25th in the NAIA. He is the only coach to take the Pioneers to the Victory Bowl three times and he led them to their first win in that bowl game in 2007. Gardner is the second winningest coach in Malone University history.


He returned to Hillsboro in 2010 for a second go-round as Tabor's head coach and led the team to a 4-6 record that season. In 2011, the Bluejays finished 3-7 overall, but the tide turned the following fall. In 2012, Tabor finished the season with an 8-2 record and second place in the KCAC (7-1), missing the NAIA playoffs. The success that year launched the Bluejays into the final NAIA top 25 poll ranked 19th.


Last season, the Bluejays again qualified for the NAIA football playoffs where they finished in the final eight teams in the nation. The Bluejays defeated Benedictine College in the first round on the road 14-13. The win was Tabor's first ever road victory in the playoffs. The Bluejays would lose to the eventual national champion, Grand View University, 44-24. For the second year in a row, Tabor finished second in the KCAC with a 7-2 conference record. They also finished with an impressive 10-3 overall record and ranked No. 8 in the final NAIA top 25 poll.


Gardner's success on the gridiron earned him the KCAC Coach of the Year award in 2004, 2005 and 2012.


Entering the 2014 season, Gardner's career record of 70-39 currently ranks him as the 13th winningest coach in the nation. His winning percentage places him 11th among all active coaches in the NAIA. He is currently the most successful coach in Tabor College football history.

Athletic background
Olathe South High School
Baker University (3-Time NAIA All-American, 4-Time All-Conference Selection)
Academic background
Graduated from Baker University (Bachelor's degree in Physical Education) and earned a master's degree from Hastings College in Hastings, NE, (Masters of Arts in Teaching)
Wife - Julie
Sons - Ben and Brooks
Billy Hickman Image
Billy Hickman
Assistant Coach- 6th Season

Offensive Coordinator



Phone: 620-947-3121 Ext. 1639


Length of time at Tabor: Since 2010







Athletic Background


Coached at Colorado Mines 2009-Tight Ends

Colorado Mines 2008- Offensive Line

Coached D-line at Tabor Spring 2008

Played at Tabor 2005-07

Captain 2007

All Conference 2007 (Tackle)

Played at Bakersfield College 2002-03

All Conference 2003 (Guard)




Two Daughters-Sophia and McKenna


What is your Coaching style


Focus on the detail

Be better in our technique than our opponents

Teach our players, through actions and examples, to be better men and players

Show players to appreciate the process, not just the end result


What is special about athletics at Tabor


Community and the relationships. Friendships that are built through a collective effort toward a shared goal…bonds are formed that will last a lifetime.

Good education and good people.


How do you integrate faith into coaching


I want to stay focused on the Lord in all I do. I follow the word within my work and using my position to be a Godly example for these young men.








Steven Miller Image
Steven Miller
Assistant Coach- 4th Season

Defensive Coordinator


Email: [email protected]


Phone: 620-947-3121 Ext. 1636


Athletic / Coaching Background:


A long-time assistant coach in the NAIA, Steven Miller joined Tabor College staff in January of 2013. He came to Hillsboro following five seasons at William Penn (2007-2012), where he served as defensive line coach.


Miller made a tremendous impact during his five seasons as defensive line coach and recruiter at William Penn.


This past season he helped his team reach the NAIA playoffs for the first time in 30 years after capturing their second conference title in five years.


At William Penn Miller enjoyed five straight winning seasons and two conference championships with the program.


Previously Miller worked with Northwestern State (1994-1996) in Louisiana, Arkansas Tech (1997-1998), Olive Branch High School in Mississippi (1999-2006), Northwest Mississippi Community College, and Arkansas State University (2007).


As a recruiter Miller recruited and coached Damon Harrison who’s in the NFL with the New York Jets during his four year career at William Penn.


Miller has also worked on both sides of the ball as well as having spent time coordinating special teams.


Miller also spent ten seasons in the high school coaching ranks prior to coaching at the collegiate level. Prior to landing the head job for the Pella Knights semi-pro team, directing the Knights to a 5-5 record.


A native of Olive Branch MS, Miller launched his coaching career as a Student assistant at his alma mater, Northwestern State, LA, in 1994. He was the defensive coordinator at Olive Branch High School in Mississippi and assistant head coach at Itawamba High School in Fulton before returning to the college level.


At Olive Branch, he was an assistant football coach and head track coach. During the 2004 and 2005 campaigns, he coordinated the top-ranked defenses in Class 5A.


Miller’s success began as a junior College player at Northwest Community College in La.) where he was a member of the 1992 National Championship Team, as well as two State Championship teams.


Academic Background:


Attended Northwest Mississippi Community College – earned Associates Degree in Physical Education

Attended Northwestern State Univ. – earned BS Psychology

Attended William Penn Univ. - earned Master’s Degree in Business Leadership





My pride and joy is my 15-year-old son Kentrell and stepdaughter, Kyla who is a very active preschooler.



Coaching Style:


I focus on recruiting, camaraderie and team building as a coach. I am energetic, enthusiastic and dedicated to motivating players. Coaching is a gift from God and what I do best.



What is special about athletics at Tabor:


Tabor athletics has a fun and close nit atmosphere. What is special about Tabor athletics is the pride each athlete demonstrates.  There is great support surrounding coaches and most importantly the student-athlete.



How do you integrate faith into coaching:


I do my best to reflect God’s presence in daily interactions with players, giving him all the glory and the praise.

Nik France Image
Nik France
Grad Assistant- 2nd Season


Anthony Daniel Image
Anthony Daniel
Assistant Coach- 2nd Season

Defensive Backs

Shawn Johnston Image
Shawn Johnston
Assistant Coach- 1st Season
Matt McElroy Image
Matt McElroy
Student Assistant- 1st Season