Matt Bruggeman is one of the top defensive linemen in Loper history, earning All-American honors in 1995 from two different outlets. To date, he is one of just nine UNK players to be named to the Sports Information Directors (S.I.D.) All-American team and is one of only three d-linemen to be tabbed an NCAA Division II All-American.
The Wayne High School graduate was UNK’s first Division II football All-American as he was a first-team pick by Don Hansen’s Football Gazette and a second-team S.I.D. selection. During a four-year career he racked up 208 tackles, including 39 for lost yardage. Since tackles became an official statistic at UNK in 1990, Bruggeman’s career tackle total currently ranks 14th among all players and third among interior linemen and defensive ends.
Bruggeman amassed 19 tackles for loss, including nine quarterback sacks in his senior year. Both were school records with the sack mark standing for the next 13 seasons. He also led UNK in tackles that fall with 72 while forcing two fumbles and recovering one.
During Bruggeman’s tenure the Lopers were a Division II independent before joining the Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference (RMAC) in 1995. He helped UNK win 24 games, including efforts of eight (1994) and seven (1992) victories, respectively. As a senior, Bruggeman was one of two Lopers named first-team All-RMAC. He also was named to the S.I.D. All-Region team.
Graduating with a Physical Education/Health K-12 degree, Bruggeman was the head wrestling coach at Gretna High School for over 20 years. He led the Dragons to numerous conference and state awards, including the 2017 Class B State Dual Championship. For his efforts, he was a three-time NSWCA (Nebraska Scholastic Wrestling Coaches Association) Coach of the Year.
A longtime teacher in the Gretna school system, Bruggeman currently is an assistant principal at Aspen Creek Middle School in Omaha. He resides in Gretna with his wife, Ronda, and has three children; Braxton Bruggeman, Keegan Towey and Tristan Towey.