SIU football coach Dale Lennon dismissed

SIU football coach Dale Lennon dismissed

By Brent Meske, @brentmeskeDE

SIU Athletic Director Tommy Bell announced Monday that football coach Dale Lennon has been fired after the team finished 3-8 this season.

This season’s record was the worst finish since finishing 1-10 in the 2001 season.

Lennon was hired as head coach on Dec. 27, 2007. In eight seasons, he led the Salukis to a 51-42 record. He led SIU to the Missouri Valley Football Conference titles in 2008 and 2009 — his first two seasons — with a record of 20-5.

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After the 2013 season Lennon’s Dawgs were 42-28, a .600 winning percentage, which is the best in school history through a coach’s first six seasons. 

“Dale and his staff directed the program with class and integrity,” Bell said in a press release. “After a great deal of thought and consultation, I determined it was time for a change in the leadership of our football program.”

Lennon will receive $55,000 as a buyout agreement as part of his contract terms.

“It has been a privilege to coach this team,” Lennon said in the release. “I have greatly appreciated the support of so many members of the SIU administration, athletic department, faculty and staff, alumni and student body.”

Bell will have a press conference at 3 p.m. Tuesday at Tedrick Auditorium to officially announce the dismissal and discuss the future of the program.

Junior inside linebacker Chase Allen said Lennon and Bell brought the team together Monday to tell them of the decision. He said an interim coach should be decided by Tuesday and a permanent replacement could be chosen by Christmas. 

“There’s not much we do with coaches at this point in the year,” Allen said. “It’s all business now.”

Former SIU walk-on long snapper Thor Hadfield said while he respects Lennon, he also understands the athletic program is a business.

“He’s the guy who gave me my opportunity so I have respect for Lennon and his staff,” Hadfield said. “Today in the game of football people want wins, people want to make the playoffs, people want to see you do well.”

Hadfield is still pursuing a career in the NFL. 

Former SIU running back Malcom Agnew said Lennon cared about players and didn’t make the game about himself.

“I think people don’t realize firing is really tough, not only on the coach, but also on the families,” Agnew said. “His family might have to pick up and move. I just hope everyone finds another job.”

This story will be updated when more information becomes available. 

Brent Meske can be reached at [email protected] or at 536-3333

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