Photo of Mark Kacmarynski provided by Central Athletics
Two former Central College all-Americans were named to the Des Moines Register’s list of the 100 greatest Iowa college football players. Defensive end Vern Den Herder ’71, a 12-year NFL veteran, and running back Mark Kacmarynski ’96, who played in NFL Europe, were both cited. They were among 13 players on the list who competed at colleges outside of NCAA Division I. Den Herder was a standout in both football and basketball at Central. A two-time all-America selection, he received an NCAA postgraduate scholarship, but turned down an opportunity to attend veterinary school after being drafted by the Miami Dolphins. The Sioux Center, Iowa native played in four Super Bowls and was a member of the famed “No-Name Defense,” which helped Miami post a perfect 17-0 record in 1972. He was inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame in 1996. Kacmarynski set the Central career rushing mark with 5,855 yards, averaging 6.3 yards per carry and 133.0 yards per game for his career. He averaged a remarkable 7.4 yards per carry and 179.2 yards per game in 1994 and was a two-time finalist for the Gagliardi Award as the Division III player of the year. He pushed the Dutch to a pair of Iowa Conference titles and NCAA playoff berths and was named the 1995 preseason Division III player of the year by three national football publications but missed most of the year with injury. A Mallard, Iowa native, Kacmarynski competed in three NFL training camps after signing free agent contacts. He spent two seasons in NFL Europe playing for Frankfurt and Amsterdam. Both Den Herder and Kacmarynski are members of the Central Athletics Hall of Honor.