Plinske: UNK football program begins transition

2Darrell MorrisKEARNEY – University of Nebraska at Kearney head football coach Darrell Morris will not return next year, UNK Athletics Director Paul Plinske announced today.

“It is with great appreciation that we recognize the many contributions Darrell has made to UNK during his 28 years,” said Plinske. “He displayed great passion and enthusiasm for his profession and this institution. He devoted countless hours to our student-athletes and the Kearney community. We thank Darrell and wish him well in his future endeavors.”

Morris, who was 3-8 in this 15th season as head coach for the Lopers, had a career-high season record of 11-2 in 2009, and 10-2 in 2011. The Lopers were co-champions of the Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference in 2010 and conference champions in 2009, 2005 and 2002. The Lopers were 3-8 in both 2012 and 2013 after joining the Mid-America Intercollegiate Athletics Association. The Lopers’ season ended Saturday with a 42-40 win over Emporia State. Morris’ 15-year Loper career record as head coach is 101-63. Morris joined UNK (Kearney State College) in 1986 as assistant coach, serving in that capacity for 13 years.

Plinske said a national search for a new head football coach will begin immediately. A transition team of some of the current staff has been assembled to provide stability for the program and help with ongoing recruitment efforts.

“It is my goal to have a new coach in place by Jan. 1, 2015,” Plinske said. “I am confident in our ability to attract highly qualified coaching candidates to this job. We will seek a leader whose vision for our football program mirrors that of our athletic department. Our fans and the entire university value the strong tradition of Loper football, and we are committed to making it a successful program.”

Morris was the 16th coach in the Lopers’ 107-year football history.

Assistants Chad Bauder (linebackers) and Andy Siegal (offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach) are not returning. Assistants returning are Bob Crocker (defensive coordinator/defensive secondary), Tom Everson (defensive line/special teams) and Matt Miller (wide receivers coach).

Morris issued the following statement this morning:

“I would like to thank everyone at UNK that supported me during my tenure as Head Football Coach.  It was a privilege for Darla and I to be a part of the Loper Football Family for the past 28 years.  I had the honor to work with some of the best coaches and student-athletes that have ever worn the blue and gold.  We also want to thank all our friends in the Kearney community for their support as we worked to turn Loper Football into a competitive program in the MIAA.  I am very proud of all that we accomplished over the past 15 years.”

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Media contact: Kelly Bartling, Asst. Vice Chancellor, Communications and Community Relations, 308-224-7473 (cell), bartlingkh@unk.edu

Media: A media availability with AD Plinske is planned for 10 a.m. Monday in the Zikmund Room at Health and Sports.

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