Defensive Coordinator / Secondary / Recruiting Coordinator
Christian Guenther is in his sixth season as SMSU's defensive coordinator and secondary coach in 2015. He also serves as the program’s recruiting coordinator.
Guenther has helped oversee an opportunistic defense during his tenure. During the 2012 and 2013 seasons, SMSU finished a combined plus-12 in turnover ratio and helped lead the team to its first postseason appearance since 1990.
Last season, linebacker Tyler Flud was named SMSU’s team MVP recording 88 tackles, while cornerback Andrew McReynolds earned second team All-NSIC accolades after recording four interceptions.
In 2013, SMSU forced two or more turnovers in six games, including recording 13 interceptions, the program’s highest total since 2009 and also scored four touchdowns. Defensive end AJ Page, was named the team’s defensive MVP and earned second team All-NSIC honors, ranking third in the league in tackles, third in tackles for loss and seventh in sacks.
The 2012 Mustang defense created 18 turnovers and help SMSU to a plus-seven in turnover ratio. SMSU created two or more turnovers in seven games and held a pair of teams to less than 300 of yards of total offense. A young Mustang defense showed signs of progress throughout the year, including limiting NSIC champion and NCAA semifinalist Minnesota State to just 24 points in regulation before losing in overtime.
In 2011, SMSU had two players—linebacker John Kersbergen and safety Levi Reiff—earn second team All-NSIC honors, while Kersbergen was named SMSU’s most valuable player.11237The Guenther Family.
During Guenther’s first season in 2010, the Mustang defense forced 20 turnovers, the most by an SMSU team since 2007 and second highest since 2004.
Prior to SMSU, he spent nine seasons coaching at NAIA Culver-Stockton College (Mo.), including serving five seasons as head coach. During his tenure as head coach at C-SC, Guenther coached three All-Americas, 15 all-conference honorees, increased the roster from 21 players to more than 100 and helped create a junior varsity program. He also was the interim athletics director for six months in 2009.
Guenther coached on both sides of the ball during his career at Culver-Stockton, serving as defensive coordinator and defensive backs coach, as well as three seasons as the team’s offensive coordinator.
Before arriving at Culver-Stockton, Guenther spent two seasons as an assistant at Minnesota State, Mankato and one spring season at Elmhurst College (Ill.).
Guenther earned his bachelor’s degree in sports management from Simpson College (Iowa) in 1999 and his master’s degree in sports administration from Minnesota State in 2001.
Christian and his wife, Kim, live in Marshall with sons, McCoy, Coby and Cade.
Assistant Head Coach / Defensive Line / Linebackers
Mike Aldrich is in his first season as assistant head coach and defensive line and linebackers coach and SMSU in 2015.
Aldrich comes to SMSU after spending the past two seasons as defensive coordinator at Wayne State College.
Prior to his stint at Wayne State, Aldrich served as head coach at Augustana College from 2010-12, where he compiled a record of 22-13 in three seasons. In 2010, Aldrich guided the Vikings to a school record 11 victories and a berth in the NCAA playoffs for the first time in 21 seasons. For his efforts, Aldrich was named the 2010 AFCA Region 5 Coach of the Year and was a finalist for the Liberty Mutual National Coach of the Year.
In 2010, the Augustana defense, under the leadership of Aldrich, led the NSIC in total defense and ranked first in Division II in pass efficiency defense, while recording 26 interceptions. In 2011, the Vikings led the conference in rushing defense and were second in total defense.
Before becoming head coach at Augustana, Aldrich served as an assistant coach for the Vikings for eight seasons (2001-02 and 2004-09). He coached the team's secondary in 2001 and 2002, before coaching the secondary and special teams in 2004 and 2005. He was promoted to defensive coordinator in 2006, before becoming head coach in 2010.
Aldrich began coaching at St. Olaf College where he spent four seasons. In 1995, he coached the defensive line; he served as assistant offensive coordinator and tight ends coach in 1996, and was in charge of the linebackers in 1997 and 1998.
Aldrich then spent the 1999 season as defensive line and co-special teams coordinator at College of the Sequoias (Calif.), before moving to California Lutheran University in 2000, where he coached linebackers and was special teams coordinator. Between stints at Augustana, Aldrich spent the 2003 season as a graduate assistant at the University of Louisville.
During his tenure as an assistant coach at Augustana, Aldrich served as head coach and defensive coordinator for the Sioux Falls Storm of the National Indoor Football League from 2000-02. He returned to the Storm as defensive coordinator from 2005-09 where he helped the team win four consecutive United Indoor Football Championships and record 40 straight wins.
Aldrich is a 1995 graduate of St. Olaf College with a degree in economics and social studies education. He was a four-year letterwinner for the Oles and served as special teams captain during his junior and senior seasons. He earned his master's degree in kinesiology/sports management from the University of Minnesota in 1999.
Mike and his wife Kristen have two children, Makenna and Joseph.
Matthew Smith is in his first season as defensive line coach in 2015.
Smith spent the 2014 season as defensive coordinator at Dixon High School (Ill.) prior to coming to SMSU.
A 2014 graduate of Truman State University with a degree in biology, Smith played four seasons for the Bulldogs, appearing in 39 career games as a defensive end recording 106 career tackles. He was a member of the conference academic honor roll and was also a four-year letterwinner in track & field.
Rob Schlaeger is in his fourth season as an assistant coach in 2015 and will coach the team's outside linebackers. He joined the SMSU staff in December of 2011.
A native of Spencer, Iowa, Schlaeger attended Buena Vista University in the fall of 2011, but an injury cut short his football career. He then joined the coaching ranks, helping coach linebackers and quarterbacks at Windom High School.
Schlaeger is pursuing a degree in sports management.