Coach Joe Forchtner has spent most of his coaching career with NMMI, starting as the Bronco linebacker/defensive line coach in July 2006, and moving up to take on the head coaching position in January 2012.
In between, he served as defensive coordinator from January 2010 through January 2011. He was a Troop Leadership Advisor in 2006-’07; assistant director of Physical Performance and Development from 2008-2010; director of the PPD in 2011; and placement coordinator in 2010.
During his time with NMMI, the Broncos saw many achievements.
In 2015, NMMI became one of only four teams in the WSFL to make the conference playoffs two of their first three years (the playoff structure began in 2013.) No team in the league has made the playoffs all three years. That same year, NMMI finished tied for second place in the conference, tied for the highest finish in more than 50 years. The Broncos placed 41 players at four-year schools in 2015 (a school record: 18 D1, 14 D2, six D3/NAIA, three to Canadian universities) and have placed between 20 and 41 players each of Forchtner’s 10 years at the Institute.
2013 was the first time since 1969 that the NMMI team had three consecutive seasons over .500, and marked the third bowl game appearance for NMMI in five years (El Toro Bowl-2013, Heart of Texas Bowl-2011, Salt City Bowl-2009). Previously, NMMI had not been to a bowl game since 1999.
Prior to coming to NMMI, Forchtner was the assistant head coach/defensive coordinator/strength and conditioning coach at Mount Allison University from 2005-2006; the safeties coach at Delta State University from 2003-2004, helping the team to its third best record in school history; the defensive tackles coach at DSU from 2002-2003; and the special teams coordinator/defensive line coach at Haskell University from 2001-2002.
Forchtner has coached numerous players who went on to further their careers in college and beyond, including one player drafted by the NFL and ten players signed by the CFL, four of whom are still playing.
He coached one player who played in the annual Blue-Gray All-Star Game; signed three of the school’s top five recruits in 2004, as rated by Go Green Magazine. One of those players went on to become the Gulf South Conference’s Defensive Player of the Year and first-team All-American in 2006 and the all-time NCAA DII sack leader in 2007.
Forchtner recruited and coached the player who tied the NAIA single-season sack record with 23; coached the linebacker who was third in the NJCAA in tackles in 2007; has been the position coach for one first-team All-American, three second team All-Americans, four honorable mention All-Americans; one second-team All-Canadian player; 19 first-team All-Conference players; and sixteen second-team All-Conference players. He coached one Russ Jackson Award Winner (Canada’s scholar-athlete of the year) and has placed between 20-31 players at four-year schools every year since 2006.
During his time at NMMI, players have come from 24 states, five countries and two U.S. territories.
Forchtner went to Elkhorn High School in Elkhorn, Nebraska; graduated from the University of Kansas with a BGS in history in 2001; and Delta State University with an M.Ed. in physical education in 2004.
He’s married to Bronco volleyball coach Shelby Forchtner and has three children, Macy, Jay and Bentley.
Kurt Taufa’asau is a native of American Samoa who played for NMMI in 2009 under then head coach Jeff Lynn before returning to his alma mater in 2016 as a defensive line coach.
As a Bronco, Taufa’asau earned First Team All-Western States Football League (WSFL) honors as a defensive lineman in 2009. NMMI posted a 7-4 record that year, earning an appearance in the Central Bank Salt City Bowl where they lost 22-14 to Hutchinson Community College of Kansas. In the bowl game, Taufa’asau was credited with four tackles.
The Broncos concluded the 2009 season ranked No. 20 in the final NJCAA National Poll. The defense ranked No. 20 in pass defense, giving up only 153.3 passing yards per game.
Taufa’asau then went to the University of Wyoming, where he played for coach Dave Christensen while earning a bachelor’s in sociology in 2012.
After graduation, he spent time in the NFL, signing with the Oakland Raiders in 2013 and on the Tennessee Titan practice squad that same year, and the Indianapolis Colts practice squad from 2014-2015.
He was the defensive line coach at Westlake High School in Saratoga Springs, Utah in 2015.
Robert Rodriguez comes to NMMI in 2016 from Artesia, where he was born and raised,winning state championships with the Bulldogs in 2003-04.
He gradated in 2006 and went to Pima Community College, where he started all 11 games in his first season.
He transferred to Emporia State University, Kans., for one season, then to New Mexico State, where he sat out 2009 for eligibility reasons, then played in 2010 as senior.
He worked as a grad assistant at NMSU in 2011, and in 2012 went to Western New Mexico University, where he was tight end coach for one year, and offensive line coach in 2014-15. He came to NMMI for the opportunity to work with coach Drew Thatcher.
“We’ve known each other since New Mexico State, so we were trying to connect somehow,” he said. “I finally got the
chance to come over here when coach (John) Roy left, and I took the job right away.” Rodriguez, who said he’s often asked if he’s the famous director (he’s not), has a finance, Sara, an 18 months old daughter Morrene, and a brother who still coaches in Artesia.
Chase Kyser is a Roswell, N.M. native. He played wide receiver at Goddard High School, then went and played at Eastern New Mexico University under former NMMI head coach Josh Lynn.
Kyser earned his master’s degree from ENMU after he was finished playing, and coached the Greyhound wide-outs as a graduate assistant for two years, including All-Lone Star Conference player Jacob Johnson.
Last season, Kyser held the wide receiver coaching job at Chadron State, where he helped produce two more All-Conference receiver selections.
He was asked by coach Forchtner to join the NMMI staff last January and helped with recruiting during the spring semester, focusing mostly in Alabama, Georgia, and New Mexico.