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IUP dismisses football coach Tepper after 6-5 season

After changing its bad-boy image in football by hiring conservative coach Lou Tepper five years ago, Indiana (Pa.) on Friday again found itself contemplating the future after announcing Tepper won't return next season.

IUP athletic director Frank Condino said in a statement that the school would begin an immediate search for Tepper's successor.

Condino was traveling and unavailable yesterday.

Tepper did not return a message left with the IUP football office.

Tepper will depart Dec. 31, although his contract doesn't expire until June 30. An IUP athletic department spokesman said Tepper will be "appropriately compensated" for the rest of his contract.

Tepper, 65, a native of Derry, Westmoreland County, has a career record of 101-75-2 with stints at IUP, Edinboro and Illinois. But he didn't win enough games at IUP to be retained, Condino said. IUP interim president David Werner agreed, saying a change in leadership was "the best option."

Tepper's five-year record at IUP was 36-18 but was 11-11 over the past two seasons.

IUP became an NCAA Division II power under former West Virginia coach Frank Cignetti, who led the Crimson Hawks to 19 consecutive top 25 seasons from 1986-2004.

Tepper's 2007 team was his only at IUP to earn a Super Region 1 playoff berth.

"Our football program needs to move in a new direction," Condino said. "After a thorough review of the program's history and this season, I don't have confidence that the current leadership can change course and position the team for a stronger future."

Condino said Tepper and his staff "undoubtedly made an enormous impact on the lives of the young men they have coached and mentored, (and) we are indebted for the contributions made to the players, the athletics department, IUP and the greater Indiana area."

Tepper led IUP to top 25 finishes during his first three seasons from 2006-08, but the Crimson Hawks fell out of the final rankings the past two seasons.

"We were expecting the team to be more competitive in both the PSAC and the NCAA Super Region 1," Condino said. "A record of 11-11 over the last two years is not what our supporters expect, and it's not what they deserve."

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