ALLIANCE, Ohio — Larry Kehres, who turned Mount Union into a Division III powerhouse while stockpiling 11 national titles, is stepping down.
Kehres, 63, had a remarkable 332-24-3 record in his 27 seasons with the Purple Raiders. His teams were unbeaten in the regular season 21 times. The first national championship came in 1993, and the last one came this past season.
His .929 winning percentage in all games is the best ever at the college level.
University of Toledo coach Matt Campbell, a 2002 Mount Union graduate who played and coached for Kehres, was not surprised to learn the news.
“I knew this day was coming soon,” said Campbell, who was part of five national championships with the Purple Raiders. “Did I know it was coming right now? Probably not. I think coach has a chance to leave the game on top with the [national title] this year. He’s got that football program in a really good spot.”
Three of Campbell’s assistants played and coached for Kehres: Offensive coordinator Jason Candle, offensive line coach Tom Manning, and special teams coordinator Stan Watson.
“The thing that’s so special about him is he had an unbelievable ability to get the most out of his players,” Campbell said. “He’s extremely intelligent, a great leader, and a great motivator. He had such a profound impact on the people he touched.”
Campbell said he considered hiring Kehres’ son, Vince, at Toledo but “we’ve all kind of known Vince’s priorities and his ambition was to one day be the next head football coach at Mount Union.”
Kehres will continue as Mount Union’s athletic director. He did not specify why he was stepping aside as coach, but he will be replaced by his 37-year-old son, whose resume that parallels his father’s.
The elder Kehres, in his 39th year at his alma mater, began working as an assistant football coach and professor in 1974. He was Mount Union’s first head swimming coach, was hired as athletic director in 1985, then assumed head football coaching duties in 1986.
The 1971 Mount Union grad’s teams won 23 Ohio Conference titles.