Seton Hill football conducts coaching search

| Thursday, Nov. 15, 2012, 11:42 p.m.

Almost immediately after Seton Hill University had fired football coach Joel Dolinski, responses started pouring into athletic director Chris Snyder's office.

“We are launching a full search, and our timeline is aggressive,” said Snyder, the Griffins' former coach who stepped down before the start of the 2008 season to concentrate on his other job as AD. “I've already received probably 30 applicants.”

That was as of Monday. Dolinski and his entire staff, minus defensive assistant Marcus Patton, were let go Sunday, a day after Seton Hill concluded its first winless season since implementing a football program in 2005.

Patton, a first-year coach at the NCAA Division II school, was to remain with the team to lead offseason workouts, Snyder said.

“I think he can keep some stability with our guys,” said Snyder. “We'll see what happens once the new coach arrives. If we meet our timeline, he will be on board by Jan. 2.”

Snyder expressed appreciation to Dolinski for the five years he spent with the school but said the focus is on the search for a replacement.

Seton Hill's athletics programs will leave the West Virginia Intercollegiate Athletic Conference to join the Pennsylvania State Athletic Conference for the start of the 2013-14 season.

“We're looking for a coach that's a proven recruiter and has the ability to recruit high-quality athletes who he can retain for all four years,” Snyder said.

Dolinski coached at Seton Hill for five seasons, compiling a record of 14-43, including 8-32 in the WVIAC. But his 2008 team in his first year at the helm posted a 10-3 overall mark, including the school's only victory in the Division II playoffs.

Since then, Seton Hill has won just four games and was 0-11 in 2012.

The school will become just the third private institution in the PSAC, joining Gannon and Mercyhurst. While their tuition costs are much higher than that of the remaining state-school members, Snyder pointed to Mercyhurst's splendid 9-2 record as proof that Seton Hill can be successful.

Seton Hill sponsors 21 varsity sports, including 19 for conference play, and will offer the maximum number of scholarships (125) allowed by the PSAC for its athletics program, of which 35 — or one under the limit — will go to football.

“Every school has its own set of challenges, but it definitely can be done here,” Snyder said. “Although it's not an easy undertaking, we do have the resources to build a quality football team.”

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