MTU Football head coach Tom Kearly retires

[Courtesy of Michigan Technological University]

HOUGHTON, Mich. — Michigan Tech Head Football Coach Tom Kearly announced his retirement on Monday following the final game of the 2016 season on Saturday. Kearly just wrapped up his 11thseason as the Huskies Head Coach, recording an outstanding overall record of 70-44 during that span. Coach Kearly has been considering this decision for quite some time and felt the timing was right following the end of the season.

“I’ve been very fortunate to have been a college coach for 38 years and over 400 games,” Coach Kearly said. “It’s a great profession and I’m very honored to have spent that many years doing something that I loved. It is just the right time to see what’s out there or do something for myself.”

“I want to thank the Michigan Tech administration who have been supportive of our program,” Kearly said. “I will always owe a great deal of thanks to Bernie Anderson who brought me to Michigan Tech and allowed Patti and I to raise our family in the Copper Country. I want to thank our football staff who have been tireless workers, good recruiters, and loyal assistants who have played a huge role in MTU becoming a great place to play college football. I also owe a great deal to the student athletes who have played for us at Tech. It has been a privilege to coach the quality student athletes at Michigan Tech. To be around the young men has made it a treat to come to the office every day.”

Kearly arrived at Tech in 2000 as the associate head coach and offensive coordinator before taking over as the head coach in 2006. Kearly has built the program into one of the top teams in the Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference during his 11-year tenure.

Over the last seven years, the Huskies have been tough to beat, racking up an overall record of 48-24 with the team securing at least seven wins in five of those years. Kearly led Tech to the programs second ever GLIAC title in 2012 and guided the team to the NCAA Division II playoffs in 2014. The Huskies were 9-1 in the regular season and earned the No. 3 seed in NCAA Super Region 3. The Huskies finished that year tied for second in the GLIAC regular season standings.

Following the 2010 campaign, Kearly garnered GLIAC Coach of the Year honors after taking a 2-8 team the year before and turning it into a playoff contender at 8-2. Overall, Tech is 70-44 since Kearly took over and has over nine winning seasons and nine top-five finishes in the GLIAC. Tech’s combined record during Kearly’s full 17-year tenure is 103-72 dating back to the 2000 season. The Huskies’ offense has flourished under his leadership, averaging nearly 30 points per game and producing 29 All-GLIAC First Team players. Michigan Tech has consistently been ranked among the top teams in the league in total offense and rushing offense.

“I can’t say enough about the job Coach Kearly has done leading our football program,” Michigan Tech Athletics Director Suzanne Sanregret said. “He has elevated our program to one of the best in the GLIAC and NCAA Division II, not only on the field but also off the field and in the classroom. He has built a culture that values athletic and academic excellence and we were very fortunate to have Coach Kearly guide our program for so many years. The entire Husky family wishes Tom and Patti the very best as they begin a new chapter in their life.”

“It’s hard to find words to express our gratitude,” Michigan Tech President Dr. Glenn Mroz said. “Tom surely has built a team and a program, but importantly, has built a culture of high expectations and accountability among the student athletes both on and off the field. We’re euphoric when they win a game, and cry with them if they lose. But they always win academically and the character that is forged along the way is Tom’s legacy. It’s more than being a coach, its leading a family and we are grateful.”

Prior to coming to Michigan Tech, Kearly spent 19 seasons at NCAA Division I Central Michigan, including the last six as associate head coach and last nine as offensive coordinator. During that time, Kearly coached 13 All-Mid-America Conference players, two MAC most valuable players, and the school’s only NCAA Division I First Team All-American. His 1996 offense set a then-MAC record for total offense with an average of 477 yards per game.

Kearly began his coaching career as a student assistant at Winona State in 1979. He spent the 1980 season as defensive secondary coach at Michigan Tech before moving to CMU as a graduate assistant working with the secondary. He became a full-time assistant coach for the Chippewas in 1983, coaching outside linebackers. In 1987, Kearly moved to the offensive side of the ball, working with the offensive backfield. He was promoted to offensive coordinator in 1991.

Michigan Tech Athletics will announce more about the future of the football program at 9:30 a.m. Tuesday morning.

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