Samuel will stay busy during holiday season

Thursday, December 22, 2005

The new coach will begin working on hiring staff and prepare for a meeting when the players return from break.

Tony Samuel received an early Christmas present on Wednesday when he officially was named the head football coach at Southeast Missouri State in a news conference held at the Show Me Center.

Now the task for Samuel -- who served as defensive ends coach at Purdue this past season after eight years as head coach at Division I New Mexico State -- will be to fill out his staff and get to the business of turning around the struggling Redhawks football program.

"Staff will be in place most likely after the New Year," Samuel said. "It could be done earlier. You've got to go through the process. Do interviews. I have an idea who I want, but you still have to fit it.

"There's a chemistry. Everyone has to have a specific strength."

Samuel already will have two positions filled, as assistants Damon Bradford and Mike Chavez were retained from former coach Tim Billings' staff.

Also on the immediate horizon for Samuel will be to sit down and meet with his players.

With his hiring coming after finals week, Samuel did not get to meet with the players before they left for the holiday.

Classes will resume Jan. 17 at Southeast.

"I'm looking forward to that," Samuel said. "We've got to wait three weeks before we can have a meeting. I'm looking forward to sitting down with them and drawing things up, mapping it out. I'm a big believer in explaining everything to the team."

Southeast athletic director Don Kaverman said Samuel's five-year contract will not take effect until Jan. 1, but he is sure Samuel will be active before then.

"Now his focus is Southeast Missouri State," Kaverman said.

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