Head football coach Everett Withers was fired Nov. 18, with one game left in the season. As head coach, Withers had an overall record of 7-28.
University President Denise Trauth and Athletic Director Larry Teis announced Withers’ immediate dismissal in a press release. Defensive coordinator Chris Woods will fill in as the interim head coach for the Nov. 24 game against Arkansas State University. Woods has coached at the collegiate level for 25 years and served six seasons as head coach at Stonehill College and Mansfield University.
Though the Bobcats are in a losing season, currently 3-8 overall, Woods’ defense was a bright spot throughout the year, ranking fourth in the Sun Belt Conference. Woods, a former coach at the University of Oklahoma, said he spoke to retired head coach Bob Stoops on the phone following the university’s announcement of Wither’s dismissal.
“(Stoops told me), ‘just be yourself’,” Woods said. “You are a good coach, believe in what you believe and do what you want to do, believe in yourself and believe that it is the right thing to do.”
The athletic department held the weekly press luncheon Monday morning as scheduled, but Withers and Teis were absent. At the luncheon, Woods said the team held a productive day of practice and the transition, while tough, was something he understood.
“It’s always a tough thing,” Woods said. “This is the life we have chosen. It is a big boy’s business and we understand that. All I can judge is what I see on the field, and I saw a focused team on the field today.”
In a press release, Teis said he met with Withers to inform him of the university’s decision.
“His teams performed well academically and were heavily involved in the San Marcos community,” Teis stated, “but we didn’t have the same success on the field.”
The last home game for the Bobcats is senior night at Bobcat Stadium. Senior safety A.J. Krawczyk said Withers was a great coach but an even greater mentor.
“We were upset. We loved the guy,” Krawczyk said. “He fought left and right for us. I love that man. He gave me an opportunity. I am blessed to have that opportunity.”
Krawczyk also said Withers elevated the team’s culture in his three seasons with the Bobcats.
“Before Coach Withers got here there was no team bond,” Krawczyk said. “Ever since he got here, the bonds between the guys that (started) here stuck. Some of these guys are going to be at my wedding. Some of these guys are my best friends. I am blessed Coach Withers gave me this opportunity.”
Trauth said Texas State has retained Parker Executive Search, a search firm that specializes in higher education, sports, corporate and academic health sciences, to help find the next head football coach. Daniel Parker, vice president and managing director, will lead the search.
According to the release sent out by Trauth and the buyout clause in Withers’ contract, the university will be responsible for paying approximately $800,000 to Withers regardless of future employment.
“I want to assure you that this money will come from the department of athletic funds,” Trauth stated. “The Department of Athletics’ budget is an auxiliary fund, meaning that it balances its own revenue, including donor gifts and game guarantees, with its expenses. This decision will have no impact on our ability to hire more faculty, support student services, and scholarships, or invest in research and academic programs.”
The University Star will provide updates on the search for a new head coach and updates to the football program.