Patience has paid off for the University of Dubuque football program. After winning only seven games total from 2001 through 2005 the Spartans finished the 2006 season 6-4 overall and tied for third in the Iowa Conference race with a mark of 5-3.

Dubuque coach Vince Brautigam says the players worked very hard in building the program, and it took some patience to get where they are right now. Brautigam took over a program that had only 21 players in 2001. He says retaining players has been the biggest key in the growth of the program. He says they started with all freshmen and advanced, and now have the experienced players to mold with the new recruits.

Brautigam says the Spartans feel good about the prospects for the upcoming season. they lost 11 seniors, with 6 that played a lot. He says some transfers have helped and they’re close to being two deep.

Brautigam says the next step for the Spartans is to become a title contender. He says they have to build on last year’s finish and the players seem to have done that in the off season.

The Spartans open the season September first at Rockford College.