CARBONDALE, ILL. -- Dale Lennon, one of the most successful football coaches in University of North Dakota football history, was fired Monday as Southern Illinois' head coach.
CARBONDALE, ILL. - Dale Lennon, one of the most successful football coaches in University of North Dakota football history, was fired Monday as Southern Illinois' head coach.
Lennon, who took over the Southern Illinois program after Jerry Kill left for Northern Illinois following the 2007 season, compiled a 51-42 record in his eight seasons at Southern Illinois. His first two teams advanced to the Football Championship Subdivision playoffs and were 15-1 in Missouri Valley Football Conference play.
But during Lennon's final six seasons, Southern Illinois failed to make the playoffs and were 21-27 in the Missouri Valley. This past season, the Salukis finished with a 3-8 overall record and 2-6 in conference play.
In a statement released by Southern Illinois, Lennon said:
"It is with deep disappointment and sadness that I leave Southern Illinois University. It has been a privilege to coach this team. I have greatly appreciated the support of so many members of the SIU administration, athletic department, faculty and staff, alumni and student body. Thank you all for your work with the football program through the years. Thank you to the citizens of Carbondale and the surrounding area for your support of Saluki football as well.
"I have had the privilege of working with a number of great coaches during my time here and I want to thank them sincerely for their efforts to coach and lead the young men on our football team. We have all tried to lead with honesty, integrity and hard work.
"To our Saluki football players, I want to say that is has been an honor to be your coach. I have learned from you, as you have developed as athletes and future leaders. Thank you for doing your best, doing what is right, and giving your all. I have loved being your coach."
Under the terms of Lennon's contract, which paid him an annual salary of $220,788, he will receive a $55,000 buyout. Southern Illinois athletic director Tommy Bell said a search for Lennon's replacement will begin immediately and he will conduct a press conference Tuesday to discuss the future of the football program.
"On behalf of the university, I would like to thank coach Lennon and his staff for their service to our institution," Bell said in a statement released by the University. "Dale and his staff directed the program with class and integrity. After a great deal of thought and consultation, I determined it was time for a change in the leadership of our football program."
Lennon came to Southern Illinois from UND, where he had a string of five-consecutive NCAA Division II playoff appearances. As head coach at UND from 1999 to 2007, Lennon compiled a 90-24 record that included a Division II national championship in 2001, a runnerup finish in 2003, a semifinal appearance in 2004 and second-round appearances in 2005 and 2007.
Lennon, a Rugby (N.D.) High School graduate who played fullback at UND from 1979 to 1983, was a defensive coordinator at UND from 1988 to 1996. Lennon then became head coach at the University of Mary in Bismarck for two seasons before being named UND's head coach in 1999.