University of Mary Athletic Director, Dale Lennon, will serve as interim head coach until the position is filled

BISMARCK, ND – The University of Mary will not renew the head football coaching contract of Josh Kotelnicki, and his duties will cease immediately. Under Kotelnicki’s tenure since 2014, Marauders football teams have experienced four consecutive sub-.500 record seasons.

Josh Kotelnicki

“I am extremely grateful to the University of Mary and President Monsignor James Shea for giving me my first head coaching opportunity,” stated Kotelnicki. “I am grateful for the efforts of all the players, assistant coaches, and support staff that have worked here together during my tenure. I also greatly appreciate the support of my family and also of the spouses and families of our assistant coaches and players. I am extremely proud of how we have run our program, but I also recognize that winning on the field is part of the expectation here. Despite everyone’s best efforts, we have not met that expectation and I accept the full responsibility for that. I wish the next coach and staff nothing but the best going forward and I believe there are better days ahead for the current University of Mary players, alumni, and fans. It has been my honor to have been part of this university and community for the last four years.”

In Kotelnicki’s first season at Mary in 2014, the Marauders finished 5-6 overall. The Marauders grabbed eight slots on the All-NSIC North Division team. Ten Marauders earned NSIC All-Academic honors and four claimed the Myles Brand All-Academic with Distinction Award. Additionally, senior linebacker Grant Singer was named to the AFCA All-American team for the second straight season and became the first Mary player to earn a spot on the AP Little All-America team. In year two, four Marauders earned 2015 All-NSIC honors with 12 claiming NSIC All-Academic recognition and two picking up Myles Brand citations. In 2016, the Marauders added 16 NSIC All-Academic performers, another Myles Brand recipient and two All-Conference players. Kotelnicki’s players continually dedicated themselves to service and involvement in the community, especially with youth programs and Special Olympics.

“We’d like to thank Josh for his service to the University of Mary, Marauders athletics, and the Bismarck-Mandan community and wish him and his family all the best in their future endeavors,” said University of Mary Athletic Director Dale Lennon, himself a former Marauders head football coach during the 1997 and 1998 seasons.

University of Mary
Athletic Director, Dale Lennon

Lennon’s success at Mary and his pedigree as a successful, well connected, winning coach at the NCAA Division I and Division II levels makes him a natural fit to assume a dual role as interim head coach and AD. He’ll immediately begin a nationwide search for a new head football coach — only the seventh in the history of the young program.

“I take a lot of pride in Marauders athletics: as this school’s fourth head football coach, as its current athletic director and now as its interim head coach, I know I share that same pride and passion that our students, our alumni, our fans and our Bismarck-Mandan community have for a winning program,” stated Lennon. “I promised when I became the University of Mary AD just a few months ago, that I would be extremely invested in the pursuit of excellence within this athletic department, and I meant it. Today that commitment starts with turning football into a championship caliber program.”

Lennon’s experience and leadership credentials span over four decades as football player, coach and administrator. After turning the last place Marauders into a first place squad in just one year, his career propelled up the NCAA Division II ranks in 1999 as head coach at his alma mater, UND. In nine years there he won a national championship (2001), amassed the best record in school history with a 90-24 mark, and claimed numerous national, regional and conference Coach of the Year honors. An eight-year head coaching stint at NCAA Division I and FCS school Southern Illinois (Missouri Valley Football Conference) ensued from 2008 to 2015. There, Lennon led the Salukis to two conference championships, two FCS playoff appearances and two conference and regional Coach of the Year honors. He served on the Board of Trustees of the American Football Coaches Association, the main governing body of college football and was chair of the FCS executive committee that represents all of Division I FCS football programs.