Bowling Green, Ky. - Western Kentucky University Head Football Coach David Elson will not be retained following the 2009 season, President Dr. Gary Ransdell and Director of Athletics Dr. Wood Selig announced today.
"We want to make it clear that we don't believe our struggles are due to a lack of effort by any of our student-athletes or coaching staff. We know all of them are doing everything they can to be successful. David Elson has made an enormous contribution to our football program for 14 years, and he is to be commended on many levels. We sincerely appreciate his efforts in laying a solid foundation for our football program," said Selig. "As the losses have mounted over the last two seasons, the level of frustration and disappointment throughout the community has increased, and we must address that at this time. Any time a decision like this has to be made, it is extremely difficult for all those involved - both personally and professionally. But we feel it is necessary at this time to have new leadership at the top of our football program. A fresh start at this point is in the best long-term interest of the program."
"Our objective has to be the best interest of the University, this football program and the student-athletes. We promise them as recruits that we will do everthing we can to put them in a situation to be successful, and this is consistent with that promise," added Ransdell. "Hilltopper fans need to remain Hilltopper fans and support this program. The young men on our football team have tremendous character. We get to know them and their families in the recruiting process, and they will not give up on this program - just as we are not going to give up on them. I think you will see them play with pride and honor these last three games and moving forward into the offseason and the years ahead."
Elson is in his seventh season as WKU's head football coach, his 14th overall year with the Hilltoppers. Since taking over as head coach prior to the start of spring practice in March 2003, Elson has compiled a 39-41 overall mark. WKU's current 17-game losing streak is the longest in the school's 91-year history and the longest current streak among all 120 Football Bowl Subdivision (I-A) members. WKU's last win was over Murray State on Sept. 20, 2008. WKU has also lost 22 consecutive games against I-A teams since winning at Middle Tennessee on Sept. 20, 2007.
"I have had the privilege of coaching at this great university for 14 years, so obviously I am very disappointed and do not agree with this decision," Elson said in a statement. "We play a very good Louisiana-Monroe team this Saturday, and out of respect for our players, staff and entire program, this game and then our remaining two games is all we are going to focus on. Please respect the process of preparation that our coaches and players must go through in order to be successful this Saturday. Go Toppers!"
Elson was the Hilltoppers' defensive coordinator for the 2002 team that captured the I-AA National Championship. As head coach, he led WKU to Division I-AA playoff appearances in 2003 and 2004. WKU posted a 6-5 record and tied for fourth in the Gateway Conference in 2005 and 2006 and went 7-5 in 2007 in its first-year transitioning to the FBS. WKU went 2-10 in 2008, earning wins over Murray State and Eastern Kentucky.
Elson came to the Hill from Southern Illinois, where he served as a graduate assistant coach in 1994 and 1995 while earning a master's degree in education. He is a 1994 graduate of Butler, where he was a three-year letter winner and started at strong safety his final two seasons. Elson is the 16th head coach in the school's 91 years of football, but just the sixth since 1948.
WKU Football Year-By-Year Under Head Coach David Elson
2003 9-4 overall, 1-1 in I-AA playoffs, tied for 3rd in Gateway Conference
2004 9-3 overall, 0-1 in I-AA playoffs, 2nd in Gateway Conference
2005 6-5, tied for 4th in Gateway Conference
2006 6-5, tied for 4th in Gateway Conference
2007 7-5 (1-5 vs. FBS schools)
2008 2-10 (0-10 vs. FBS schools)
2009 0-9 (0-8 vs. FBS schools), 9th in Sun Belt Conference
TOTAL 39-41 overall, 1-2 in post-season
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