Tahlequah Daily Press

November 18, 2013

Duckworth: Kenny Evans no longer NSU's head coach

Special Writer

— Northeastern State University held a press conference Sunday afternoon to announce NSU's head football coach Kenny Evans is no longer employed at the university.

NSU athletic director Tony Duckworth declined to commit on the specifics of Evans employment at NSU. Evans was at NSU for six years, his record was 22-42 overall. Evans guided NSU to two consecutive winning seasons in 2010 and 2011, but Evans also led Northeastern State to three nine-loss campaigns, this season being one of them.

"This decision does not relate just to Fall 2013," Duckworth said.

NSU moved to the Mid-America Intercollegiate Athletics Association under Evans in 2012. Their conference record is 6-14 in two years.

When asked about the decision he made, Duckworth said, "Ulitmatily when we where in the back of the six games probably, after the first quarter of the Missouri Western game with a score of 30-7 Missouri Western. That is a quarter that stuck in my mind."

"The Missouri Western and Eastern New Mexico State games is when I really looked to see where we were as a program," Duckworth said.

On the decision to let Evans go after instead of before the University of Central Oklahoma game Duckworth commented, "The bottom line is, when is there a good time?"

The job desciprtion that was laid out by Duckworth was very precise. He wants someone who has had at least seven years of coaching experience, and at least five years of college coaching experience. There are two requirements for the job: a candidate must have a bachelor's degree as well as seven years of coaching experience.

Duckworth is bit cautious about hiring a Division I coach.

"Sometimes it is difficult to make the transition from Division I to Division II," Duckworth said. "I do not want to hire a coach that is  going to be knocking on my door every other day telling me what we don't have and why we are not being successful. I want to hire a head coach that is going to be excited about the opportunity to be NSU's next head football coach."

Duckworth also hedged against going after a qualified high school coach.

"There has been some success in recent years, even at some of the high levels that a high school coach has made that transition and been very successful." Duckworth said. "It would have to be a unique situation for me to pull the trigger and make the recommendation to (NSU president) Dr. (Steve) Turner to higher a high school coach."

Duckworth continued with his ideal coaching candidate.

"I am looking for someone who is a visionary and someone who the community is drawn to," Duckworth said. "I want a head coach that is involved in the day to day game planing, and whether they are an offensive or defensive guy, they are going to embrace all three phases of the game."

Duckworth made it very basic and clear when he said, "Our focus is on returning NSU to winning football."

NSU will start conducting a national search for the next head football coach at NSU on Monday.

"Our priority simply needs to be focusing our efforts on hiring the right coach to lead this program where we can find ourselves consistently winning football games and having winning season again," he said.

As for when Duckworth hopes to hire NSU's new head coach, Duckworth hopes to do it within a two-month window.

"In a perfect world, I would like to say a 45-60 day window, we would like to have someone hired," he said. "I can assure you who ever we hire is not going to be a Houdini and it is going to take some time."