Daye steps down as head coach


Joshua Boley | File Photo

Former Football Head Coach Daryl Daye gives his team a talk after a football game. Daye led the Lions to a 17-15 overall record during his three-year career as the Lions head coach.

Brad Stout, Editor-in-Chief

Nationwide search for replacement under way

Lions head football coach Daryl Daye confirmed his resignation from Missouri Southern’s athletic program during a press conference Feb. 19 after news broke that he had accepted a job with Northwestern State University in Louisiana. Daye, who served the Lions as head football coach for three seasons, will be filling the role of defensive coordinator at the NCAA Division I school under head coach Jay Thomas.

During the press conference, Daye explained his motivation for taking the position and leaving Southern behind, citing the proximity to his hometown and his father’s battle with stage four cancer, as well as his mother’s recent kidney operation.

“It’s an opportunity for me,” said Daye. “It’s an hour and a half away from my hometown and it’s a little over two hours away from my parents. At the end of the day, the decision was made strictly based on what’s best for me and my family.”

Daye previously interviewed for a position with Louisiana State University in the spring of 2014, also in accordance with his desire to be closer to home.

“The news [of Daye’s departure] did come as sort of a shock to the team,” said junior defensive lineman Rolandeis Toliver, “but after he interviewed last spring, some of the older players who’ve been here weren’t as surprised.”

HT Kinney, the Lions’ current offensive coordinator, has stepped into the role of interim head coach while a national search for Daye’s replacement is conducted.

During Southern’s Feb. 20 Board of Governors meeting, Athletic Director Jared Bruggerman announced an official search committee had been formed with the intention to begin the process immediately.

Speaking unofficially for the team, Toliver stated their desire for a new coach who demonstrates knowledge of the game and who has enough experience to “change things around.”

“This is an opportunity to start fresh,” said Toliver. “With the talent we have, we are excited for this chance.”

Coach Daye was originally hired in 2006 as Southern’s defensive coordinator. He later took a two-year hiatus from Southern to coach with the NFL’s Buffalo Bills before coming back to Joplin as head coach in 2012.

During his time at Southern, he led the Lions to a 17-15 overall record. He coached 27 All-MIAA selections — including 2012 MIAA and National Defensive Player of the Year Brandon Williams — and coached five All-Region and three All-American selections.

According to Toliver, the Lions’ off season workouts and training are still going as scheduled, but there is currently no timetable in place for the spring football season.

“It’s an interesting time in life when you have to go through situations like this,” said Daye. “I have nothing but positive and great memories that I’ll leave here with and I’m very proud to have been here and to be your head coach for the time I was.”