Thursday, March 24, 2005

It's Official: Kevin Higgins to coach the Citadel

You heard it here first that Higgins was interviewing there, and now it's official - former Lehigh head coach Kevin Higgins will be taking over the head coaching duties at the Citadel.

First of all, congratulations on Kevin Higgins getting this great opportunity at the Citadel to bring their football program back up to the standards of Furman, Georgia Southern, Appalachian St., and Wofford. I have little doubt that the Citadel will have exactly zero regrets about this hiring down the road. There will be a lot of folks up at South Mountain, too, who will be following with interest and rooting for that football program to succeed.

To Citadel fans, you have got a great coach - one who had a transformative effect on the Lehigh program. Here's hoping that he can do the same for the Citadel as well.

For Lehigh, this couldn't be a better opportunity for the Engineers (or other Patriot League schools) to schedule some games with a member of the SoCon. Here's hoping that it can be pulled together soon!

Here's the official releases:
Official Press Release from The Citadel
Statement from Lehigh Athletics

And here are your quotes (including my post from 2 days ago):
[LFN] When Higgins became head coach in 1994, the Patriot League was a football conference which was a wannabe Ivy league. Now, Patriot League schools are regularly recognized in the Sports Network Top 25. Coach Higgins is one of the big reasons why this is the case... Not only did he preside over what could be called a Lehigh dynasty in the late '90s, he brought respect to Lehigh and Patriot League football. Teams who took Higgins' teams lightly during the playoffs more often than not found themselves exiting the playoffs.

Major General John Grinalds, USMC Ret., President of The Citadel: "Kevin Higgins is the right coach at the right time for Citadel football. He understands The Citadel's interest in having a team that will make alumni proud -- not only for the way they play in Johnson Hagood Stadium but also for the way the players conduct themselves as cadet-student- athletes."

"I share the excitement of the team, the Corps and The Citadel family for the leadership that Kevin Higgins will bring to our football program."

Les Robinson, Director of Athletics on the hiring of Kevin Higgins as The Citadel's 23rd head football coach: "I am extremely confident in the man we have hired. It is my opinion he is the best available college head coach in the country. I feel comfortable and great about the person we hired."

Kevin Higgins, on The Citadel: "The Citadel had exactly what I was looking for in its academics, history and football are all a very important part of the institution. Discipline is very important to football success. What greater place to coach at than at a military school where discipline is stressed."

“Kevin and I have remained extremely close since his departure from Lehigh over four years ago,” said current Lehigh head coach Pete Lembo, who succeeded Higgins on the sidelines at Goodman Stadium. “His experience in Detroit was very fulfilling and now he moves on to the next big challenge in his career. I know he is excited to build a strong football program at The Citadel. He and his family will be an outstanding addition to the Charleston community."

Nice statement by Coach Lembo. It's obvious that everyone in the Lehigh family is very happy for him.

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