By Sean Heffron
On February 6, Sewanee head football coach, Tommy Laurendine, resigned after a winless 2016 season for the Tigers. Following the resignation, Athletic Director Mark Webb announced a “nationwide search” to fill the coaching vacancy.
Laurendine led the Tigers to a 15-45 record during his six-year-tenure as head coach. In his first year as head coach the Tigers went 5-5, and the Southern Collegiate Athletic Conference named him Coach of the Year. However, Laurendine was unable to build off his early success, and ended on a 19 game losing streak that dates back to 2015. Laurendine finished his career as the 11th winningest coach out of the 30 head football coaches in the program’s 126 year history.
The search for Laurendine’s replacement began immediately after his resignation and has already attracted a large number of applicants. “Over the course of the last two weeks, I’ve had inquiries or applications from over 80 coaches,” said Webb. A wide variety of candidates from across the country have applied.
“The pool of candidates is very robust; moreover, it includes head and assistant coaches coming from all coaching levels, including high school to the professional ranks,” according to Webb.
Sewanee’s next head football coach will be tasked with restoring prominence to a storied program that arguably had the greatest season in college football history in 1899, but has not had a winning season since 2000.
When asked what criteria the search committee was using to evaluate candidates, Webb said, “Obviously, our next head football coach has to have proven leadership and coaching skills. Candidates can distinguish themselves further if they are coming directly from a winning program, if they have significant Division III coaching experience, especially at an academically selective, small liberal arts institution, and if they can provide tangible evidence of success in prospect recruiting, player retention, and student-athlete development.”
With spring football practices normally scheduled to begin in the next coming months, the search committee is striving to fill the position in a timely fashion so that the new coach has adequate time to prepare for the 2017 season.
“I anticipate finalists will be brought to campus in early March with an appointment made prior to spring break,” said Webb.