UTSA officially announced Larry Coker's resignation as head coach today after the news leaked to FootballScoop.com this morning. Coker guided the program through its opening season in 2011, quickly ramping up UTSA football from a rag-tag group of unrecruited athletes to a Conference USA competitor featured on national television. Per UTSA Athletics:
After starting the UTSA football program from scratch in 2009 and leading the Roadrunners to 26 victories in their first five seasons, Larry Coker announced Tuesday that he is stepping down as the program's head coach.
"UTSA has been a very special place to me and I will be forever grateful for the experience," Coker said. "The future of UTSA football is very bright and I look forward to watching the Roadrunners' success in the future."
"I want to thank Larry for taking on the huge challenge of starting up this football program," Associate Vice President/Director of Athletics Lynn Hickey said. "It required an incredible amount of hard work and dedication over the past six years. There were a lot of challenges and unknowns, but Larry was able to represent the university and the city of San Antonio in a first-class manner."
Coker has 86-47 (.647) career record, three conference championships and the 2001 National Championship at Miami (Fla.). The two-time National Coach of the Year mentored 26 first-team All-Americans, 97 first-team all-conference players and 90 student-athletes who earned academic all-conference accolades.
The Roadrunners set NCAA startup program records for inaugural game (56,743) and average home (35,521) attendance in 2011 and finished no lower than third in the conference in average home attendance in four seasons of league play, including leading the Western Athletic Conference with 29,226 in 2012.
A few tidbits from Lynn Hickey's press conference this afternoon:
- Hickey's tone made it apparent that Coker's resignation was not her decision. If she did push Coker out the door then she was highly remorseful about it. Hickey was very emotional and seemed blindsided by the entire situation.
- It seems as though Coker's health was a major factor in his decision to step down. We send our sincere thoughts and prayers out to a phenomenal person if Larry's heath is in serious condition.
- UTSA will utilize a search firm to find their next coach, with an aggressive target hiring date of within the next two weeks.
- The American Football Coach's Association is hosting their national convention in San Antonio next week so candidates will be hard-pressed to find excuses for turning down interviews.
- Hickey will push her next head coach to retain current members of the staff. This is a good decision as most of UTSA's remaining coaches are great recruiters and can help bridge the gap between the two regimes. I would like to see Charlie Reeve, Tony Jeffery, Eric Roark, and Jeff Popovich all be retained.