Missouri State officials told the press they already had the money to complete a buyout of former Head Football Coach Dave Steckel before the announcement in November of the coach staying with the program.
Athletics Director Kyle Moats said after the Thanksgiving meeting he felt good about keeping Steckel with the program, but they began to show differences in January meetings that ultimately lead to the decision to relieve the coach of his duties.
“After much discussion, Stec and I concluded that it would be best for both parties that we should separate ways,” Moats said. “All of this is not ideal in terms of timing, we plan to act swiftly to hire a coach to salvage the rest of the recruiting period.”
Steckel had a record of 13-42 during his time with the program, the worst winning percentage since A.J. MacDonald’s four seasons between 1934 and 1937.
“Our issue is we’ve got to try not to just get caught up but get ahead in some areas,” Moats said. “That’s the challenge that we have. A coach has to know that. A coach has to know what they’re getting into.”
Moats and Missouri State University President Clif Smart said they will be a two-man committee to hire the new coach, with Smart saying he will make the final decision, so if fans don’t like the choice they can put the blame on him.
During the press conference, Smart appeared to take aim at critics of the program who were very critical of the performance of Steckel and the team.
“When I see people talk about or characterize our football program and particularly the 100 young men who play for us as an embarrassment, it’s very disappointing,” Smart said. “In my view, that kind of terminology ought to be reserved for non-compliance, misbehavior, abuse of players, when players aren’t graduating. Things that we would truly be ashamed of. None of which we had in the five years that Stec was here.”
Smart and Moats would like to have a new coach hired within two weeks.