ALLIANCE, Ohio – University of Mount Union's Larry Kehres has decided to step down as head football coach, but remain the director of athletics, while Vince Kehres has been named head football coach effective immediately.
Larry Kehres, in his 39th year working at his alma mater, began working as an assistant football coach and professor in 1974. He was Mount Union's first head swimming coach, was named athletic director in 1985 then assumed head football coaching duties in 1986.
"The best part of the job was developing relationships with players and continuing those relationships following their graduations," commented Kehres. "Coaching the Purple Raiders has been a tremendous experience for my family. We have shared many great experiences with our players, fellow coaches, trainers and their families. We plan to continue to enjoy working with Mount Union coaches and athletes."
In 27 seasons, his teams won 23 Ohio Athletic Conference Championships (1986, 1990, 1992-2012) while posting 21 undefeated regular seasons (1986, 1990, 1992, 1993, 1995-2004, 2006-2012) and claiming 11 NCAA Division III National Championships (1993, 1996, 1997, 1998, 2000, 2001, 2002, 2005, 2006, 2008, 2012).
A 1971 Mount Union graduate, Kehres has a career coaching record of 332-24-3 (.929) which makes him one of the winningest coaches in the history of college football.
As director of athletics, he has overseen and aided in the expansion of varsity sports -- currently at 23, increased the athletics staff and has led an aggressive plan to enhance and create some of NCAA Division III top facilities highlighted by the $17-million expansion and renovation of the Timken Physical Education Building and Peterson Field House.
In fact, just this past season Mount Union swept both Ohio Athletic Conference Men's and Women's All-Sports Trophies and is the highest ranked NCAA Division III institution in Ohio in the Learfield Directors Cup Standings recognizing excellence in college athletics.
"My plan is to continue to assist coaches and student-athletes to experience success at Mount Union," stated Kehres.
He and his wife, Linda, have three grown children and five grandchildren.
"Coach Kehres has been an incredible success, not only in winning football games and national championships at an unprecedented level, but also in positively shaping the lives of countless student athletes. His impact on Mount Union has been dramatic, and the entire Raider family will clearly miss him on the sideline. Larry, his wife Linda, and the Kehres family are a special part of the fabric that makes Mount Union unique, and we are indeed grateful. We are pleased that Larry will still be leading our entire, highly successful athletic program as director of athletics, and we are appreciative for both what he has done and what he will continue to do for Mount Union", stated University president Dr. Richard Giese.
Vince Kehres has spent the last 13 years on the Mount Union football coaching staff and the last eight of those years as defensive coordinator.
As defensive coordinator, his unit has constantly ranked statistically among the top of all of NCAA Division III and in 2012 they were No. 1 in total defense, No. 1 in scoring defense and No. 1 in rushing defense while posting six consecutive shutouts.
The 1998 Mount Union graduate and Alliance native has been part of 10 of the Purple Raiders national championships as either a player (2) or a coach (8).
"Obviously Mount Union football has been a part of my entire life," stated Vince. "I have a passion for coaching and working with young men and I can think of no better place to do that then at Mount Union. I promise this program will continue to uphold the values and ideals that have made Mount Union what it is in the world of college football," said Vince Kehres. "Our mission remains the same -- bring quality young men to this place and allow them the opportunity to grow and be successful on and off the field."
According to Giese, "Vince Kehres has been instrumental in many successes of the program; and we are proud and fortunate to have him take our program forward. He is well-prepared and ready for this opportunity."
During his playing career at Mount Union, Kehres totaled 62 hits and 12 tackles for loss, and he was a key member of the special teams unit. He was part of a 1997 defense that led all of Division III in fewest points allowed (5.6 ppg) and rushing defense (48.6 ypg) while posting five shutouts and setting a Raider single-season mark for sacks in a season (53 in 10 regular season games).
He has a master's degree from Ashland University and he and his wife, Lindsay, have two sons, Evan and Bo.
The University is in the process of planning appropriate recognition of Coach Kehres and the program.