Source says Samuel has football job

Wednesday, December 21, 2005

The former New Mexico State coach will be introduced today.

Southeast Missouri State has scheduled a news conference for 3 p.m. today in the Show Me Center meeting rooms to introduce the university's new head football coach.

Although Southeast officials are keeping the identify of that person under wraps, it appears that Purdue assistant Tony Samuel will become the university's first black head coach in any sport.

Samuel is the only one among the three finalists for the position who could not be reached for comment, but the other two said Tuesday afternoon that they had not heard from Southeast athletic director Don Kaverman this week and they assume that means they have not been selected.

"It's not me, so you can mark me off the list. It can't be me," said Craig Schurig, the head coach at Division II Washburn (Kan.) University. "When I didn't hear anything on Monday, I assumed they were going in a different direction."

Said Jerry Partridge, the head coach at Division II Missouri Western State University: "I would assume it's not me. I haven't heard anything."

A source close to the situation told the Southeast Missourian that Samuel will indeed become the Redhawks' next football coach.

The source said Samuel was recommended by Kaverman to Southeast president Ken Dobbins, and the Southeast Board of Regents in turn approved the recommendations of both Kaverman and Dobbins. Samuel then accepted the university's offer.

"He [Samuel] is definitely the guy," the source said.

Samuel -- he, Schurig and Partridge were all in Cape Girardeau recently for a series of meetings and interviews with Southeast officials -- is a former head coach at Division I-A New Mexico State.

The 50-year-old Samuel went just 34-57 in eight seasons at New Mexico State from 1997 to 2004.

Although that record might not sound impressive, it is certainly respectable for a program that has struggled over the years.

Samuel, who in 2002 led the Aggies to a 7-5 record for their most wins since 1967, is the third-winningest football coach in New Mexico State history. The Aggies have had just four winning seasons in the last 37 years, and two of them were under Samuel.

New Mexico State was 5-6 under Samuel in 2004, after which he and his staff did not have their contracts renewed. This year, the first season after Samuel's departure, New Mexico State went 0-12.

Asked during his visit to Cape Girardeau on Dec. 15 if he would like to get back into head coaching, Samuel said, "I have to think that once you're a head coach, you would like to do it again."

Said Kaverman during Samuels' campus visit: "New Mexico State is not an easy place to win, but he had some good seasons there."

Southeast has been in the market for a new head football coach since Tim Billings resigned last month after going 25-43 in six seasons, including 2-9 this year.

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