Dale Lennon going to SIU

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Dale Lennon going to SIU

Postby cubsfan » Fri Dec 28, 2007 8:47 am

Article in the Herald this morning:
UND FOOTBALL: Lennon leaves
By Wayne Nelson, Herald Staff Writer
Published Friday, December 28, 2007

The football program at Southern Illinois is on the move. So is Dale Lennon.

Lennon will be introduced as the new Southern Illinois coach this afternoon in Carbondale. Lennon will take over the Southern Illinois coaching position after spending the previous nine seasons at UND, where he turned the Sioux into a Division II national power.

Lennon would not comment on the situation. Neither would his six assistant coaches. The Southern Illinois media services director for athletics, Tom Weber, would neither confirm nor deny Lennon's move to Carbondale.
UND coach Dale Lennon had plenty to smile about as the Fighting Sioux beat Augustana Saturday in Grand Forks. Herald photo by Eric Hylden.
UND coach Dale Lennon had plenty to smile about as the Fighting Sioux beat Augustana Saturday in Grand Forks. Herald photo by Eric Hylden.
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But all signs pointed to Lennon's departure on Thursday.

Multiple sources said Lennon had accepted the Southern Illinois position, which opened after Jerry Kill resigned after seven seasons to take the Northern Illinois coaching job.

Lennon takes over a program that is on the rise. Southern Illinois finished 12-2 this past season, advancing to the NCAA Division I Football Championship Subdivision semifinal round. The Salukis have qualified for the playoffs for the past five years the second-longest active FBS streak in the country behind Montana.

Lennon will replace a popular coach who turned the Saluki program into a winner.

"What (Kill) has done for Saluki football is nothing short of miraculous," Southern Illinois athletic director Mario Moccia said after Northern Illinois named Kill as its new coach earlier this month. "Jerry essentially built this program from scratch, and he is leaving an excellent foundation upon which his successor can continue."

Southern Illinois plays in the Gateway Football Conference, which also will include North Dakota State next season. Interestingly, Southern Illinois' first Gateway game of the 2008 season is against North Dakota State in Fargo.

Southern Illinois has qualified for the Division I FCS playoffs for the past five years. Also, the school has launched an $80 million upgrade of its athletic facilities, which will include a new 12,000-seat stadium.

No comment

UND would not comment on Lennon's departure. However, the school is expected to address the situation either today or Saturday.

Sources said UND will fill Lennon's position internally.

There was no indication whether any of Lennon's assistants would join him in Carbondale.

There are six coaches on staff assistant head coach and offensive coordinator Chris Mussman; co-defensive coordinators Mike Mannausau and John Kelling, wide receivers coach Tim Belmore, running backs coach Greg Breitbach and outside linebackers coach Eric Schmidt, who also is the director of football operations.

If the Sioux look outside the program, the top two likely candidates would be Kansas State defensive coordinator Tim Tibesar, a former Sioux player and assistant; and Bubba Schweigert, the head coach at Minnesota-Duluth who spent 15 years as a Sioux assistant.

Lennon's departure comes at a challenging time for UND football.

The school is in the middle of its recruiting season, one that appears to be off to a good start. UND also will become a Division I FCS program next season and will not be eligible for FBS postseason play until 2012, a fact that makes this recruiting season even more challenging.

One of UND's daunting tasks after its final season in Division II is to build an attractive schedule to offset the fact that the Sioux will not be eligible for the playoffs for the next five years.

To make matters even more interesting, UND also is without an athletic director and a new president likely will take office in the next few months.

"Most places don't have that issue," North Dakota State athletic director Gene Taylor said of UND's transition to Division I. "It's going to make for an interesting search, to say the least."

Lennon has a big part of UND football for more than two decades. The Knox, N.D., native played at UND. Later, he became an assistant coach, eventually becoming the school's defensive coordinator.

Came from Mary

As the defensive coordinator, Lennon switched to the 3-4 defense in the early 1990s. That move helped UND overcome a 12-year losing streak to rival North Dakota State. Lennon left UND in 1997 to become the head coach at the University of Mary in Bismarck. Lennon spent two seasons there, compiling a 12-9 record.

However, former Sioux coach Roger Thomas resigned in 1999, which opened the door for Lennon's return to UND. Lennon was the popular choice to take over the UND position. In all, Lennon has spent 22 seasons at UND as a player, assistant coach and head coach.

It didn't take long for Lennon to reach the top of the Division II world.

His first UND team in 1999 reached the playoffs. In 2001, Lennon guided the Sioux to the Division II national title as UND defeated Grand Valley State of Michigan 17-14 in the championship game.

UND lost to Grand Valley 10-3 in the 2003 Division II title game. Lennon led the Sioux to the playoffs in seven of his nine seasons. His overall record was 90-24. Lennon's 90 wins are tied for the most in school history. Thomas also recorded 90 wins in 13 seasons.

Lennon's teams also won five North Central Conference titles. His teams also recorded wins against two Division I FCS teams Northern Iowa in 2006 and Southern Utah this past season.

Lennon's success made him an attractive coach for a number of schools. He had chances to leave UND, including earlier this year when Montana State was believed to have offered Lennon the head job. Lennon reportedly turned down the position. At that time, Lennon said other unnamed schools had talked to him in the past about coaching vacancies.

Lennon one of two mentioned


Southern Illinois moved quickly to replace Kill, who accepted the Northern Illinois position Dec. 13.

The only two names that surfaced to replace Kill were Lennon and Matt Eberflus, the defensive coordinator at Missouri.

After UND wrapped up its final Division II season, a 10-2 campaign that ended with a second-round playoff loss at Grand Valley State, Lennon said he was excited to lead UND into its move to Division I.

But Southern Illinois apparently targeted Lennon as the coach to replace Kill. The search at Southern Illinois didn't take long, either. Sources said that Lennon interviewed at Southern Illinois within the past few days.

Sioux assistants were informed of Lennon's decision Thursday.

Lennon signed a five-year extension at UND in 2005 worth $100,000 per season. At Southern Illinois, Kill was believed to be making $165,000 per year.

Lennon to get shot at Bison

As the coach of one of the top teams in the Gateway Football Conference, Lennon will again get a chance to take on North Dakota State. The Bison and Sioux haven't played since 2003.

Taylor said he wasn't shocked that Lennon, with all of his ties to North Dakota, left the Sioux program.

"I'm a little surprised, but then again part of me isn't," Taylor said. "He's a good coach, no question about it. Transitions (to Division I) are tough. Whether that was part of his reasoning or not, I don't know."

NDSU coach Craig Bohl was rumored to be up for the Northern Illinois position that went to Kill. There has been considerable speculation in Fargo on how long Bohl will remain at NDSU, where he has developed one of the top Division I FCS programs in the country.

"I think it's ironic that everybody thought (Bohl) was going to go," Taylor said. "And here Dale is the one who ends up leaving."
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Re: Dale Lennon going to SIU

Postby scruffy » Fri Dec 28, 2007 11:11 am

Good Luck! I think Dale has noticed a leak or two in the UND ship and decided to bail. I think the UND Prairiedogs are going to find the transition do division one a bit tougher then the Bison did.....
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Re: Dale Lennon going to SIU

Postby NDSportsFan » Fri Dec 28, 2007 12:47 pm

UND is juggling lots of situations now, but honestly I think they will be ok. The worst thing that can happen is they will struggle a little on the field. That might happen anyway since they are stepping up in competition. Everyone who thinks this might be some sort of a "death blow" to a program, isn't giving much credit to the other people who have made UND a pretty good football school.
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Re: Dale Lennon going to SIU

Postby ndfan » Fri Dec 28, 2007 12:57 pm

If UND pulls trigger to go with NDSU in transition I don't believe he leaves. But he's a great recruiter and no doubt will have some great teams at southern illinois in the future. Best of luck to him there and I certainly will be cheering for SI in the future.
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Re: Dale Lennon going to SIU

Postby baseball18 » Fri Dec 28, 2007 5:05 pm

anybody know any candidates for the UND job now? All I know is Kyle Schweigert from MN-Duluth. What about Myron Shultz? Assistant coaches?
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Re: Dale Lennon going to SIU

Postby Stromer » Sat Dec 29, 2007 2:20 am

Bubba from Duluth more than likely will go with Lennon to SIU. If he doesn't, I am sure he will be a candidate. Mussman, the OC, has applied. He also is in the running for the Mankato job but I am sure he would prefer UND. Tibesar, currently a coordinator at Kansas State, might be a long shot to come back. K-State's coach isn't exactly in a secure position. I don't see any other internal candidates being ready to step up. I would like to take a look at the U of Sioux Falls coach as well. He may not fit the criteria and he may not be interested, but it would be worth a look. I hope Tibesar comes back and then if not, Mussman. I don't see them opening this job up nationwide but I think they will be able to find a candidate that already has ties to the program.

As for the death blow, I don't think it will come. I thought we would be able to do real well in transition and now I think we might lose a couple more games then I had thought. But the support will still be there and we will make it out ok. While searching for a new AD, pres, and HC can be daunting, I think getting everyones on the same page might not be that bad of an idea.
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Re: Dale Lennon going to SIU

Postby point/center » Sat Dec 29, 2007 7:08 am

Tom Dosch from Jamestown?
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Re: Dale Lennon going to SIU

Postby scruffy » Sat Dec 29, 2007 11:04 am

I hope the new guy likes nine months of sub-zero temperatures, three months of swatting mosquito's and some high humidity.... :lol:
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Re: Dale Lennon going to SIU

Postby Stromer » Fri Jan 04, 2008 1:40 am

point/center wrote:Tom Dosch from Jamestown?


He sounds liek he might be leaving for some role. If your looking to be a coach, Minnesota-ND is the place to go. UND, Mankato, St. Cloud, Duluth, and now maybe Jamestown. Yikes.
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Re: Dale Lennon going to SIU

Postby rep » Fri Jan 04, 2008 5:58 pm

all over the web that dosch is leaving jc to go to with lennon. sounds like he'll be coaching inside linebackers.

aps being accepted immediately at jc.
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Re: Dale Lennon going to SIU

Postby ndfan » Sat Jan 05, 2008 4:21 pm

rep wrote:all over the web that dosch is leaving jc to go to with lennon. sounds like he'll be coaching inside linebackers.

aps being accepted immediately at jc.


So what your thoughts, there anyone in house that can handle the job? Will they look out of state? Another DAC head coach? Maybe a high school coach?? Whats the rumors?? :)
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Re: Dale Lennon going to SIU

Postby point/center » Sat Jan 05, 2008 9:03 pm

ndfan wrote:
rep wrote:all over the web that dosch is leaving jc to go to with lennon. sounds like he'll be coaching inside linebackers.

aps being accepted immediately at jc.


So what your thoughts, there anyone in house that can handle the job? Will they look out of state? Another DAC head coach? Maybe a high school coach?? Whats the rumors?? :)


Think it is safe to say that Ryan Cunningham is not a candidate for this job.
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Re: Dale Lennon going to SIU

Postby Hinsa » Sat Jan 05, 2008 9:19 pm

LOL!!!!!! Atta-boy, Point/Center!
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Re: Dale Lennon going to SIU

Postby rep » Sat Jan 05, 2008 10:15 pm

i have no clue who would take the job or who is even applying for it. certainly there are some good components in place for next season, in a good qb, young offensive line, experience on the defensive side of the ball. don't remember if bolger is back at wr?

but i would think the longer you are without a coach, the worse it is for your program, so likely someone would be brought in during the next couple weeks.

as with any coaching turnover, i'm curious how this effects kids that have verbally committed to the school but haven't actually signed anything.
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Re: Dale Lennon going to SIU

Postby ndfan » Sat Jan 05, 2008 11:46 pm

If you believe what you read on the NAIA board someone said Ford Resigned from Mayville State today. So a couple head football coaching jobs in the DAC now supposedly.
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