Kiernan resigns as Gannon’s football coach

Gannon University football coach Jim Kiernan resigned Thursday morning after serving as the head coach for five years, the university announced.

Defensive coordinator Brad Rzyczycki has been named interim head coach. Gannon said it will begin its search for a new head coach immediately.

Kiernan leaves with a record of 21-34 in five seasons after the Knights went 4-7 in 2011.

“While I have a great competitive spirit, this profession is very demanding. As a head coach, the commitment level is 24/7,” Kiernan said in a news release via the Gannon sports information department. “I need to focus my attention back to taking care of my own personal and family matters.”

Redshirt freshman and starting quarterback Daniel Tapscott said Kiernan informed the team of his decision at a team meeting following the Knights’ morning workout.

“It was a pretty big shock for everyone, and it got pretty emotional,” Tapscott said.

According to Tapscott, Kiernan told the team he does not plan on coaching next year.

Kiernan’s decision leaves the Knights facing a high degree of uncertainty for 2012.

“We have spring ball starting in a few weeks, and at this point, we don’t have an offensive coordinator; we don’t know what our offense will be,” Tapscott said.

“We just know there’ll be a battle for every position, because the next coach won’t care what happened last season.”

Gannon Director of Athletics Mark Richard praised Kiernan in the news release.

“Jim has been a tremendous asset to our football program, the Department of Athletics and the entire University,” Richard said.

Kiernan came to Gannon after serving as offensive coordinator for Saginaw Valley State University from 1999-2006.

Kiernan, who did not respond to phone calls at his office Thursday, took over the Gannon program in 2007 and led the Knights to a 1-10 record that year before producing a 4-7 record in 2008. The Knights then put together back-to-back 6-5 records in 2009 and 2010.

In addition to a losing record, this season also came equipped with legal troubles. Assistant coaches Michael Smith and Darren Paige received non-traffic citations for their roles in what police called a fight outside of the Boardwalk Complex with former Gannon wide receiver Kendall Brown. The charges were later withdrawn.

One week later, Indiana Borough police charged then graduate assistant Anthony Ferla with indecent exposure, public urination, disorderly conduct and public drunkenness prior to the Knights’ game against IUP.

Check out the Gannon Knight after break for more information.

JOE CUNEO

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